• LaurenWallace

How Does Tooth Whitening Work?


There are many ways to whiten your teeth — from whitening toothpastes and other products that can remove many surface stains for very little cost, to light-activated whitening techniques in a dentist's office that cost up to $1,000 and can produce dramatic results. All whitening techniques work in one of two ways:

  1. Bleaching removes both deep & surface stains. Bleaching procedures change your natural tooth color, usually anywhere from five to seven shades brighter. In-office (chairside) whitening and at-home (tray) whitening both rely on bleaching. Bleaches contain an active ingredient, most often carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in concentrations of 10-22%, which helps remove both deep and surface stains. There are significant cost differences between different bleaching procedures:

  • A light-activated whitening session in a dentist's office, sometimes called chairside bleaching, can cost $500 or more and results in instantly and often dramatically whiter teeth. However, after a year or so of eating and drinking normally (coffee, tea, soft drinks), your teeth become slight