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Conventional Teeth Whitening
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Conventional Teeth Whitening
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Conventional teeth whitening is a cosmetic dentistry technique, which uses a chemical gel to lighten, discolored, stained or yellow teeth.

Length of Surgery

Around one hour




None required

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Treatment Frequency...

Repeat treatments will be needed to maintain the desired results


Sensitivity; absorption of the chemicals in the tooth whitening gel can cause possible adverse effects; soft tissue irritation or damage.


Conventional teeth whitening costs vary depending upon the area you live in and the number of treatments required by the patient. Teeth whitening costs vary between $200 - $500 per arch, and $1,000 for the whole mouth.

Duration of results

One year or more depending on how well teeth are maintained and cared for subsequent to the tooth whitening procedure.

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Conventional Teeth whitening Costs*

Conventional teeth whitening costs can vary depending upon a number of factors, including where you live, and the number of treatments required by the individual patient to achieve the desired results. However, teeth whitening costs typically vary from $200 - $500 per arch, and $1,000 for the whole mouth. Dental insurance does not typically cover the cost of the teeth bleaching procedure. Talk to your dentist about the possible conventional teeth whitening cost of your individual procedure.

If you are considering undergoing a tooth whitening treatment but want more information about the financing options available before you make your decision, PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Most dental clinics offer flexible financing and payment options, some of which allow staggered payments or loans from various financing companies. You can discuss your financial options with your cosmetic dentist, and find out if there are any loans of flexi-payment plans that will allow you to achieve the even, white smile that you want. 

Am I a candidate for a conventional teeth whitening Procedure?

Suitable candidates for conventional teeth whitening include almost all of those who have all their permanent adult teeth. Yellow teeth respond to teeth bleaching most effectively.

Suitable candidates for teeth whitening treatment include those with discolored or stained teeth caused by:

  1. Aging – Darkening deposits from certain foods and drinks build up over time and stain the teeth
  2. Foods – coffee, tea, red wine, sodas and dark-colored vegetables and fruits can all stain teeth
  3. Smoking – inhaling tobacco smoke causes the teeth to take on a yellow discoloration.
Pregnant women and those under 16 are not suitable candidates for teeth whitening. There are also other patients who may not be suitable for the tooth whitening procedure, including people with:
  1. Periodontal disease
  2. Sensitive teeth and gums – the tooth bleacher may cause a hypersensitive reaction
  3. Brown or gray teeth
  4. Teeth marked from tetracycline or too much fluoride (fluorosis) – this may cause uneven teeth bleaching results
  5. Tooth-colored fillings, caps, crowns, or bonding — the materials used in these dental procedures are unaffected by the teeth bleaching gel, which causes an uneven result. Bonding or veneers may be recommended as an alternative.
  6. Thinned and transparent teeth
  7. Serious tooth or jaw problems – the dentist may recommend a crown or cap instead
  8. Stubborn staining – this may be resistant to in-office bleaching gels. The dentist may recommend a bleaching course to follow at home, or advise an alternative such as crowns, porcelain veneers or bonding. 

What is a conventional teeth whitening Procedure?

Conventional teeth whitening (also known as teeth bleaching, chair side teeth whitening) is a cosmetic dentistry technique that lightens and brightens discolored or stained teeth. Teeth that can benefit from the teeth whitening procedure include those that may have been stained by tea, coffee, alcohol, smoking, age etc. The number of teeth bleaching procedures performed in the US has risen approximately 50% each year since 2005 according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, making it an extremely popular procedure. Tooth whitening is commonly performed in-office under rigorously monitored conditions to help to ensure the safe and painless use of the teeth whitening bleaching gel.

Conventional teeth whitening is a chemical process using a bleaching gel that lightens the color of the teeth. The teeth whitening procedure is carried out by a qualified cosmetic dentist.

The fastest and most efficient way to lighten teeth is by in-office bleaching. You can choose to have just some of your teeth bleached, or have the whole mouth treated. This procedure takes about an hour, and during the teeth whitening process a bleaching gel which contains 15% to 35% hydrogen peroxide is applied directly to the surface of the teeth. If dramatic whitening results are required, several in-office bleaching visits to the dentist will usually be needed.

The whitening results from teeth whitening and the number of treatments required depends on how discolored the teeth are. Depending on the number of treatments, the teeth will appear two to seven shades whiter after teeth bleaching.

During the treatment process your teeth may become sensitive and you may experience some discomfort in the area being treated. The bleaching gels used in the teeth bleaching treatment may aggravate the soft tissues of the mouth, therefore the dentist isolates the teeth to be treated from the gums as a safety precaution. If you are particularly sensitive to chemicals, your dentist can test your sensitivity before you undergo the teeth whitening treatment. Your dentist may halt the procedure, depending on the level of discomfort, and may recommend an alternative treatment to be performed at some point in the future.

Conventional teeth whitening does not yield permanent results. Depending on subsequent oral hygiene standards, the type of food and dinks you consume, whether you smoke etc, the results may last for one or more years. Some dentists may recommend following a “white food” diet (white fish, chicken, rice, water etc) in the days following the teeth whitening procedure, because the teeth will be more likely to stain during this time.

Your dentist will be able to inform you of any potential conventional teeth whitening risks prior to the treatment. If you experience any particularly uncomfortable sensitivity after the teeth whitening procedure, or if you have any other concerns, contact your dentist who will either be able to reassure you or recommend a solution.

How is conventional teeth whitening done?

Firstly, the dentist will assess the condition of your teeth to ensure that the teeth whitening procedure is an appropriate treatment for you. The in-office teeth bleaching procedure takes around an hour. Before your teeth bleaching procedure, your dentist or a hygienist will thoroughly clean the teeth, removing any surface stains and tartar. The dentist then makes a record of the shade/color of your teeth prior to the procedure, using a shade chart or by taking a digital photograph. This is compared to the shade of your teeth after the teeth bleaching treatment to assess the results.

The dentist uses a teeth bleaching product containing 15% to 35% hydrogen peroxide gels. Firstly, the dentist isolates the gum areas to protect them from the bleaching gel, by placing a gel or special shield on them. Eye protection is also provided to prevent any damage to the eyes from accidental splashes of the peroxide gel. A cheek retractor is used to expose the teeth and keep the soft tissues of the lips and cheeks away from the potentially irritating peroxide gel. The hydrogen peroxide gel is painted onto the teeth and then rinsed off several times to achieve the whitening results desired. The protective equipment is then removed and then the shade of the newly whitened teeth is compared to the pre-whitening shade on the tooth shade chart or digital photograph taken prior to the procedure.

Questions to Ask a Surgeon about a conventional teeth whitening procedure

Here is an essential checklist of questions you may want to ask your dental professional:

  1. Am I a good candidate for conventional teeth whitening?
  2. Are my described expectations realistic?
  3. How long will the procedure take?
  4. What kind of anesthesia or pain relief is used?
  5. What is your experience in performing conventional teeth whitening?
  6. Can I see your qualifications?
  7. Ask to see any conventional teeth whitening before and after photographs of recent procedures
  8. What percentages of your conventional teeth whitening patients have had significant post-treatment complications?
  9. How much will my conventional teeth whitening procedure cost?
  10. Do you offer patient financing? (Flexible payment schemes for your surgery)
  11. Will you repeat/correct procedures if the agreed goals are not met? If this is the case, will I be charged again?
  12. Ask to observe the exact procedure you are considering before you decided to have surgery if you are unsure (this could be on videotape or in real life).
  13. What is the recovery and healing period for conventional teeth whitening? When can I resume full normal activity?
  14. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked, suspended
  15. Ask for and follow up on patient references (these can be invaluable to finding out what your surgeon is really like and the level of customer satisfaction he/she has received in the past)

Cosmetic Dentist Checklist

Cosmetic Dentist Checklist

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Conventional Teeth Whitening procedures; click here for an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself dentist .

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Be sure to also visit our Expert Advice page where you can find great questions from real visitors, Answered by real plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, and skin rejuvenation specialists.