What is Chairside Bleaching?

Chair-side bleaching has been around the longest when it comes to cosmetic whitening. The perk of having your dentist involved is that a professional can evaluate the best method for your individual needs and monitor your treatment to obtain optimal results. On the other hand, chair-side bleaching is one of the more expensive teeth whitening treatments, and you may also have to wait weeks to set up an initial appointment and a few more weeks for the actual treatments.


How Chair-Side Bleaching Works

During your initial evaluation, your dentist not only decides on the best tooth whitening method for you, but he can also assist you if you need gum lifts or tooth shaping. Bleaching on its own, however, is a chemical change and makes no structural changes to your teeth.

During the one-hour treatments, a bleaching agent is applied to your teeth, while a protective gel or rubber shield protects your soft gums from the chemicals. The protective rubber is thin enough so that it’s possible to wear it comfortably enough during the day. Some people may experience minor speech impediments, but usually your dentist can adjust the guard in these cases. Often the bleaching agent consists of some form of peroxide (the active bleaching ingredient) with a higher concentration than over-the-counter bleachers. Sometimes the dentist will use a laser to enhance the bleaching potency (sometimes this process is called “laser bleaching”).

The ADA Seal of Acceptance, which is carried by more than 1,000 dental products, covers these bleaching agents, but not the laser treatment. The ADA Seal is widely acknowledged by dentists for its mark of quality, but not required by all products. Because the laser aspect of bleaching is fairly new, further studies are likely needed before it will receive the Seal. Ask your dentist for a recommendation for or against laser use for your case. You may have to make multiple appointments for treatments before getting results, and visits usually last about 30-60 minutes.