Chairside bleaching is typically completed in the office in about an hour, where a strong concentration of peroxide is applied to the teeth along with a laser to activate the agent. A gel or rubber shield is used to protect the gums from harsh chemicals. In-home bleaching requires custom made trays and a prescription strength bleaching gel which are worn daily for up to an hour between one to two weeks.
A fairly standard routine is followed when doing chair side bleaching procedures. The gels used contain a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide, anywhere from 15 to 25 per cent, which is why it is an ‘in-office’ service. The soft tissue is protected either by placing a liquid rubber dam, or resin that is painted on to protect against any irritation. This is left to sit for 15-30 minutes, and a light may be used to enhance the bleaching process.
The bleach is then washed off and the procedure is repeated. Teeth may whiten by as few as two to three shades or by as many as eight shades, but it will take a couple of days for teeth to ‘settle into’ their new, natural shade.
Part of the whitening effect is due to dehydration during the bleaching process, which makes teeth look whiter than their true new color. Much like the hairdresser, in-office bleaching is not a permanent solution, and teeth will eventually begin accumulating stains that will warrant either a ‘touch up’ visit, or maintenance at home.
Bleaching will not work on crowns, veneers or bonding, and depending on the the teeth and lifestyle habits can last between one and three years.