Teeth Whitening – Explained!

Most people want a bright, white smile. Unfortunately, it can be a challenge to obtain this, considering most people also enjoy teeth-staining beverages like coffee, tea, and wine, as well as teeth-staining foods. The answer is getting a teeth whitening treatment at your dentist’s office.

How does teeth whitening work?

Unlike store-bought teeth whitening methods like whitening toothpastes, which remove only surface stains, a professional teeth whitening treatment (bleaching) breaks up stains below the enamel through a process called oxidation. This makes the stains less visible, and makes your teeth appear whiter.

What is the procedure for teeth whitening?

At DentalArts, we use the Zoom! whitening treatment, which takes an average of 90 minutes from start to completion. Before beginning the treatment, your dentist will apply a protective gel to your gums to prevent irritation from the whitening gel. The teeth whitening solution will then be applied to the teeth. A state-of-the-art Zoom! whitening light is applied to the teeth to enhance the effectiveness of the solution, providing immediate results. Following the treatment, you’ll be provided with an at-home whitening kit to help you maintain your smile.

When should I whiten?

If you are thinking about getting your teeth whitened for an event, such as a wedding, it’s recommended to whiten at least one month before the date of the event. If you’re planning on having dental work done to your front teeth, bleach your teeth first. Wait one week to allow your teeth to stabilize before undergoing any procedures.

What if I have teeth sensitivity when I bleach?

If you’ve traditionally had sensitive teeth, without any treatment being done to them, use a desensitizing toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate for at least one month before undergoing a teeth whitening procedure. Be sure to tell your dentist about your sensitivity so that he or she can adjust the percentage concentration of the whitening product.

Consult with your dentist before beginning any treatment for teeth whitening, whether it’s at home or at a dentist office. He or she will be able to advise you on what your options are and which would be best for you.

Resin Infiltration of White-Spot Lesions

White spot lesions often occur in orthodontic patients, especially if proper oral hygiene wasn’t kept before the orthodontic treatment was performed. One option for treating white spot lesions is with resin infiltration, a minimally invasive restorative treatment for post-ortho white spot lesions (WSLs) as well as certain congenital hypocalcified enamel lesions.

The Icon Treatment penetrates demineralized enamel and fades the appearance of white spot lesions and hypo spots. It produces optical properties similar to those of natural enamel so that the shade of the tooth looks natural.


The ICON procedure takes only one visit and requires no shots/numbing or drilling. Plain pumice is used to clean the teeth, then the lesions are etched to remove the outer remineralized layer of enamel. Finishing bur is used on any surfaces that do not show any improvement. A drying agent of ethanol is then applied. A resin infiltrant is applied and left to soak for three minutes to allow for capillary action. Excess material is removed with cotton rolls, micro-brushes, and floss. The material is light cured and an additional amount is applied for one minute. This is also cured (after the excess is removed). The treatment is finished with polishing discs or burs. The gums may blanch temporarily in lesions close to the gum line. The entire procedure takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour.


The ICON procedure is much less invasive and less expensive than alternatives, such as fillings or veneers. It can also be completed sooner than cosmetic options like veneers. Hypo spots treated with ICON should whiten similarly to the natural tooth enamel instead of looking worse as with bleaching.

Does it work?

Research shows that results last for at least eight weeks. Similar to teeth whitening procedures, which may need touch-ups, so does this procedure. However, many patients show stable results for three years or more. It should be noted that it’s not guaranteed that any spots will disappear completely, but in most cases, there is a significant cosmetic improvement in just one visit.