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How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Going to the dentist for a professional teeth whitening treatment can be an amazing experience. But how does teeth whitening work? And is it better to visit a dentist than to do it yourself at home? 

Here’s how professional teething whitening works and if it’s the right cosmetic treatment for you. 

How Does Professional Teeth Whitening Work? 

The teeth whitening process is intended to help lighten the appearance of stains from the enamel, resulting in whiter teeth. Professional teeth whitening procedures involve applying a special whitening gel to your teeth, and that's usually about it! There are different types of solutions and sealants dentists can use, but it's generally a quick, painless, and effective procedure that gets you noticeable results in just one visit. 

While professional teeth whitening isn’t a complicated procedure, it does require a certain level of experience. The attainable level of teeth whitening depends on several factors, such as the degree of staining or consumption of specific foods. 

You’ll want to set aside at least an hour for a professional teeth whitening appointment. 

Professional Teeth Whitening in Omaha: How Our Process Works

Our dentists will start by measuring the shade of your teeth, which will serve as a guide for assessing your whitening progress. A retractor is then placed to keep your lips away from the whitening gel. To prevent irritation, a barrier may also be placed along the gumline. The whitening solution is then applied to the front of the teeth. 

Eagle Run West Dental uses Philips Zoom! QuickPro for in-office whitening. Zoom! QuickPro uses a two-layer technology, including: 

  • A 20% hydrogen peroxide varnish. Hydrogen peroxide acts as a bleaching agent, which safely whitens the teeth. It typically takes 60-90 minutes for the effect to set in. 

  • A second, sealant layer. The sealant dries in seconds and locks the hydrogen peroxide varnish into place. 30 minutes after the appointment, the patient will brush or wipe off the varnish, revealing a whiter smile. 

For efficiency, professional teeth whitening services can be added to any regular dental appointment. You’re likely to see results after just one treatment. 

How Long Does Professional Teeth Whitening Last? 

Professional teeth whitening can last anywhere from six months to three years, depending on the type of bleaching agent (hydrogen peroxide, carbamide peroxide, etc) used. Other factors, such as application and the concentration of bleaching agents may also affect longevity. In most cases, however, you can expect results to last for about a year. 

The expectancy of whitening treatment is also dependent on your lifestyle and eating habits. Overall, the two most important agents that impact how long teeth whitening lasts include your diet and dental habits. If you continue consuming the same foods that stained your teeth in the past, whitening is likely to be less effective. 

What to Eat After Teeth Whitening 

Foods that are safe to eat after teeth whitening include: 

  • Grains such as pasta, bread, and rice 

  • Fresh vegetables 

  • Milk 

  • Yogurt 

  • Chicken, turkey, and white fish 

  • Cheese 

We recommend using a straw, brushing your teeth regularly, and seeing your dentist for cleanings twice a year, to maintain their whiteness. 

Foods to Avoid After Teeth Whitening

A lot of food and beverages we consume over the course of a day can seriously stain our teeth. 


We recommend avoiding teeth-staining items such as: 

  • Coffee 

  • Dark tea 

  • Carbonated drinks 

  • Wine 

  • Sugar 

  • Dark fruits like raspberries, blackberries, and cherries 

  • Tobacco products 

Who Is a Candidate for Teeth Whitening?

Any patient with overall, good dental health may be a candidate for professional teeth whitening. In general, a whitening treatment can remove stains caused by: 

  • Aging - Over time, the teeth begin to darken. This can be emphasized by hereditary factors or eating habits. 

  • Eating habits - Consumption of foods, including dark-colored fruits, coffee, and red wine can easily lead to stained or discolored teeth. 

Your dentist will tell you if your teeth can be successfully whitened at your initial consultation. 

Who is Not a Candidate for Teeth Whitening? 

Patients with discoloration on the inner layer of the tooth may be ineligible for treatment, as intrinsic staining can’t be cleared with whitening gels. Additionally, teeth whitening may not be suitable for patients with worn enamel, exposed roots, or gum disease. Cosmetic appliances, such as dental implantscrowns, or porcelain veneers will not be whitened with treatment. 

How Much Does Professional Teeth Whitening Cost? 

The cost of professional teeth whitening differs based on location and duration of treatment. While professional whitening is more expensive than at-home treatment, the benefits of having a dentist whiten your teeth make up for the additional cost. 

You’ll also experience whiter teeth for a longer period than with at-home treatment. 

Is Professional Teeth Whitening Worth It? 

Yes, in most cases, teeth whitening is worth the added cost of visiting a dentist to get long-lasting, safe results. Over-the-counter whitening products are convenient but problematic for many reasons. For one, they take a long time to show results if they show at all -- sometimes weeks or months. Tray whitening kits are also ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods. 

When you have your teeth whitened professionally, your treatment is finished in one appointment and you'll have a noticeably whiter smile. And since the procedure is handled by a skilled dentist, there’s no risk of gum irritation or hypersensitivity. 

Professional Teeth Whitening Services in Omaha, NE

You’ll be happy with the way your smile looks after professional teeth whitening. If you'd like to learn more about the teeth whitening process, contact our office in Omaha, NE, or call us at 402-498-8804 to schedule an appointment.

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