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How is professional teeth whitening done?

Whitening (also called bleaching) is a procedure that brightens teeth that are discolored or stained or have darkened in color because of injury. Whitening can be performed on living teeth or teeth that have had root canal treatment. It may be done entirely in the dental office (a process known as chairside bleaching) or the dentist may dispense a system for you to use at home (home-use bleaching).

Chairside bleaching takes from 30 minutes to one hour per visit. A chemical solution is applied to the teeth to lift out stains. A special light may be used at intervals to help activate the bleaching agent. To complete the process, two to 10 sessions one week apart may be required. It is not uncommon for the teeth to become slightly sensitive temporarily after bleaching treatments.

With home-use bleaching, the dentist creates a custom-fitted mouthguard that holds the bleaching gel. The mouthguard is worn up to two hours daily or at night for a length of time specified by the dentist. The amount of time per evening for which the nightguard is worn and the treatment duration may vary according to your needs and your dentist's recommendations.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.