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Updated: Jan 24, 2022

Teeth Whitening In-Chair Treatment

Teeth whitening In-Chair is a procedure designed to lighten the colour of your teeth using a combination of hydrogen peroxide gel and a specially designed visible LED lamp. The teeth whitening in-chair procedure involves using the gel and lamp in conjunction with each other to produce maximum whitening results in the shortest possible time.

Some sensitivity is normal following the procedure and is discussed in further detail below. It will be necessary to avoid eating and drinking strong coloured foods/drinks (anything which would stain a white shirt) and NO smoking for up to 24 hours after the procedure until the colour of your teeth, post whitening, has stabilised.


Before and after the treatment, the shade/colour of the teeth will be assessed using a shade guide and photographically recorded.

During the entire procedure, a plastic retractor will be placed in the mouth to help keep it open and some gauzes might be placed in the mouth the lips and tongue away from the teeth. Lip balm will also be applied as required. The soft tissues (i.e. lips, cheeks, gums and tongue) will be covered to ensure they are not exposed to either the whitening gel or the light.

During the procedure, the whitening gel will be applied to the teeth and the teeth will then be exposed to the light from the teeth whitening lamp for two (2) or three (3) twenty sessions depending on the treatment you have chosen. Glasses with a visible LED light filter are worn during this time. After the treatment is completed, the retractor and all gel and tissue coverings will be removed from the mouth.


Tooth Sensitivity:

During the first 48 hours after completion of teeth whitening treatment, some patients can experience tooth sensitivity or pain. This is normal, and can be worse in susceptible individuals. Ibuprofen, Paracetamol or Aspirin may be required to alleviate this discomfort.

You may or may not have tooth sensitivity or pain following teeth whitening treatment but if it does the sensitivity subsides within 24 hours. People with existing sensitivity, recession exposing root surfaces, exposed dentine, untreated caries, cracked teeth, abfractions, open cavities, leaking fillings or other dental conditions that cause sensitivity or allow higher penetration of the gel into the tooth may find that those conditions increase or prolong tooth sensitivity or pain after teeth whitening treatment.

Gum/Lip/Cheek Inflammation:

Whitening may cause inflammation of your gums, lips or cheek margins. This inflammation is temporary, on average persisting for 1-2 days. Your practitioner will usually be able to notice any inflammation directly after the end of teeth whitening procedure and will advise you of the appropriate action (application of vitamin E oil or cream to the affected area).

Limiting movement of facial muscles and talking during teeth whitening procedure will significantly reduce the likelihood of post-operative inflammation due longevity of the treatment


Gum disease/Tartar:

Bleeding and unhealthy gums will prevent the protective barrier material applied to gum tissues during the procedure from ‘sticking’ increasing the likelihood of inflammation of your gums following the teeth whitening procedure. A professional scale and clean is recommended prior to proceeding with teeth whitening treatment to ensure the gum tissues are healthy and teeth not obscured by calculus deposits.

Dry/Chapped Lips

The teeth whitening treatment involves two (2) or three (3), 20-minute sessions during which time your mouth is kept open continuously for the entire treatment by a plastic retractor that covers the lips. This could result in dryness or chapping of the lips or cheek margins, which can be treated by application of lip balm, pawpaw ointment or Vitamin E.

Existing Restorations

Teeth whitening in-chair treatments are not designed to lighten artificial teeth, crowns, veneers, and porcelain or composite resin filling material.

Decay or Leaking Fillings

Most dental whitening is indicated for the outside of the teeth, except for patients who have already undergone a root canal procedure. If any open cavities or fillings that are leaking and allow gel to penetrate the tooth is present, significant pain could result. It is recommended that decay or leaking fillings be addressed before undergoing teeth whitening treatment.

Cervical Abrasion/Erosion

These are conditions that affect the roots of the teeth and they are characterised by grooves, notches and/or depressions, which appear darker than the rest of the teeth. These areas appear darker because they lack the enamel that covers the rest of the teeth. Even if these areas are not currently sensitive, they can allow the whitening gel to penetrate the teeth, causing sensitivity. These areas will be covered prior to teeth whitening treatment.

Colour Relapse

After teeth whitening treatment, it is natural for the teeth that underwent teeth whitening treatment to regress somewhat in their colour with time. This is natural and should be very gradual, but can be accelerated by exposing the teeth to staining agents such as tea, coffee, red wine and all tobacco products.

Treatment for relapse involves wearing take-home whitening trays, which we are also offered if you decided on that road.

Pregnancy and Medications
Teeth whitening is NOT recommended for pregnant or lactating women, light sensitive individuals, people receiving radiation or other chemotherapeutic drugs or treatments.

As the teeth whitening lamp emits a visible LED light people with a history of melanoma or taking any drugs that increase photosensitivity (e.g. antibiotics like tetracycline, acne medications like Roaccutane, anti-malarial like doxycycline should consult with their physician before undergoing the procedure.


  • Existing issues should be treated before undergoing a whitening procedure 

  • Results will vary or regress due to a variety of circumstances. 

  • Teeth whitening in-chair treatments are not intended to lighten crowns, veneers or porcelain, composite or 
other restorative materials, and that these types of restorations may need to be replaced to match my newly whitened teeth. 

  • People with darkly stained, yellow or yellow-brown teeth frequently achieve better results than people 
with grey or bluish-grey teeth. 

  • Teeth with multiple restorations, colourations, bands, splotches or spots due to fluorosis, tetracycline antibiotics or naturally light-coloured teeth do not whiten as well, may need several treatments or may 
not whiten at all. 

  • Those with porcelain fused to metal crowns, amalgams, fixed lingual orthodontic bars/retainers, or 
implants may feel heat 

  • The teeth whitening Lamp emits visible LED light and all materials used in the isolation process, which properly 
used as directed, will block any exposures of soft tissues to this light. 

  • We do not recommend whitening treatments for pregnant or lactating women or patients under 16 years of age.

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