A Comprehensive Guide to Teeth Whitening for Beginners

A mouth ready for laser teeth whitening service.

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Unlock Your Brighter Smile

When it comes to improving our physical appearance, teeth whitening is one of the top cosmetic procedures people go for. According to a recent survey of American adults, 67% have used whitening services or products. It is a simple way to brighten your smile and can make a huge difference in how confident you feel about your appearance. Whether you’re looking to whiten your teeth for a special occasion or just want to improve your overall smile, this comprehensive guide to teeth whitening for beginners will help you understand the process and determine what option is best for you.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a process that uses a special bleaching solution to remove stains and discoloration from the surface of teeth. The bleaching solution can be applied in different ways, such as a professional dental procedure, (like Zoom Whitening), or with over-the-counter products (such as Crest Whitening Strips).

It isn’t permanent and may require multiple treatments or touch-ups over time to maintain. It is important to note that whitening isn’t effective on all types of stains, such as those caused by medications or genetic conditions. Before deciding to go ahead, talk to your dentist if it’s a good fit for you.

Benefits of bleaching your teeth

One of the major benefits of bleaching your teeth is improved confidence. Having a bright, white smile can make a huge difference in how we feel about our appearance and can boost our self-esteem.

Additionally, this service can help improve the appearance of teeth that are stained by food, drinks, and smoking. A whiter smile can also make us look younger and healthier, which is a great way to make a good first impression. And there is some evidence that shows people with whiter teeth look more attractive.

Teeth whitening options

When it comes to teeth whitening, there are a variety of options available. The type of teeth whitening option you choose will depend on your desired results, budget, and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to the process.

The most common teeth whitening options include over-the-counter whitening kits, whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, whitening trays, and professional dental service. Here at Dr. McVey’s office, we use Zoom Whitening, an in-office procedure. We also create custom dental trays that you can use to maintain your whiter results at home.

Over-the-counter whitening kits are generally the most affordable option and are available at most drugstores. These kits typically include a bleaching solution and a tray or strips that are used to apply the solution to the teeth. Results can take several applications and may not be as effective as professional treatments.

Whitening toothpaste, strips, and trays are all over-the-counter products that can help to remove surface stains from teeth. These products typically contain lower levels of bleaching agents (about 6% strength) than professional treatments (about 40% strength) and don’t have very effective results.

Finally, professional teeth whitening is the most effective option and is performed in the dental office. This procedure can provide more dramatic results than OTC products.

Whitening in the dental office: The Pros and Cons

Whitening is a popular service for many people looking to improve the appearance of their smile. As mentioned already, about 67% of American adults have tried some form of whitening.

The major benefit of whitening your teeth at the dentist is that it provides more dramatic results than over-the-counter products. It can whiten your teeth up to two to seven shades lighter. It’s also more precise and can target areas of discoloration more effectively.

The downside of teeth whitening dentistry is that it is more expensive than over-the-counter products and typically not covered by insurance. Additionally, some people may experience sensitivity or irritation after the procedure.

Teeth whitening dentists: What to Look For

When choosing a dentist, it is important to do your research and find a qualified provider who is experienced in the procedure. You should also look for a dentist who is familiar with the type of bleaching you are interested in and can provide the results you are looking for.

When selecting a dentist, it’s also important to ask about their credentials and experience. You should also ask about the type of bleaching solution they use and the cost of the procedure.

Teeth whitening products: What to Consider

When selecting at-home products, it’s important to be aware of the active ingredients and the strength of the bleaching solution. Different products contain different concentrations of bleaching agents, so it is important to read the labels and make sure you are getting the right product for your needs.

It’s also important to consider the cost of the product and the length of time it will take to see results. Over-the-counter products may be more affordable, but they typically take longer to produce results than professional treatments.

The different techniques

When it comes to teeth whitening, there are a few different techniques that can be used to achieve the desired results. The most common techniques include:

Bleaching is the most common technique and involves the use of a solution to remove stains and discoloration from the teeth. This technique is usually performed by a dentist or dental hygienist and can provide more dramatic results than over-the-counter products.

Laser whitening is a more advanced technique that uses a laser to accelerate the whitening process. This technique is generally more expensive than bleaching and may not be suitable for all types of discoloration.

Finally, whitening trays are a type of over-the-counter product that can be used to apply a bleaching solution to the teeth. These trays are typically more affordable than professional procedures and can provide results in a few weeks. If you do choose to go this route, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance to ensure that you’re spending money on an effective at-home treatment.

Teeth whitening tips

When it comes to teeth whitening, there are a few tips that can help you get the best results. The first tip is to make sure you are using a dentist-recommended product. This will help to ensure that you are using a safe and effective product.

It is also important to follow the instructions on the product carefully. Overusing the product or leaving it on too long can cause sensitivity or irritation. We cannot emphasize this enough! Sensitive teeth can make it unbearable to eat your favorite hot or cold foods–or drinks.

Finally, it is important to maintain your results by brushing and flossing regularly and avoiding foods and drinks that can stain the teeth. Additionally, you should schedule regular check-ups with your dentist to make sure your teeth are healthy and your results are maintained. Why would you want to waste the work that went into your beautiful new smile but ignore the upkeep to keep it looking nice?

Teeth whitening FAQs

How long do results last?

The length of time results last will vary depending on the type of product or procedure used. Over-the-counter products may last for a few months, while professional treatments may last for up to a year. Additionally, the results fade over time and may require touch-ups or maintenance treatments.
At our office, we send you home with trays and whitening solution after your service, so that you can maintain your white smile at home.

Is this service safe?

Most whitening products and procedures are generally safe when used as directed. However, it is important to talk to your dentist before starting any type of whitening treatment to make sure it is right for you.

Can any type of stains be removed with bleaching?

Teeth whitening is not effective on all types of stains. It is best for removing surface stains caused by food, drinks, and smoking. It is not effective on stains caused by medications or genetic conditions.

What is the cost of a whitening service?

We charge $500 at our office for Zoom Whitening.


Whitening is a great way to improve the appearance of your smile and boost your self-confidence. Understanding the different types of options, products, and techniques can help you determine which option is best for you.

When it comes to teeth whitening, it’s important to do your research and find a qualified and experienced dentist who can provide the results you’re looking for. Additionally, it’s important to maintain the results by following good oral hygiene practices and avoiding stain-causing foods and drinks. But even if you do indulge in coffee or that glass of wine, you can always use the whitening trays we send you home with.

Book your appointment now to get your whiter, beautiful smile!


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