Illuminate Your Smile: Discover the Magic of Teeth Whitening Services

February 22, 2024 | Mint Dental Works


You see it everywhere, from commercials on TV to Instagram and TikTok advertisements, people with a blindingly white smile promising you too can have perfect white teeth.

Whether it’s store-bought strips, at-home trays, or dental office procedures, bleaching your teeth has become as common as bleaching your hair.

Understandably, you may be a little hesitant to try teeth whitening services because, unlike your hair –– teeth don’t grow back. 

Before you go experimenting with your smile, take this moment to understand how teeth whitening works, the many options available, and if it’s right for you.


Table of Contents


What Is a Teeth Whitening Service?

Teeth whitening or “bleaching” has quickly become one of the most frequently requested dental services. Due to its popularity, there has been a proliferation of teeth whitening services. 

Teeth whitening is a procedure that whitens the shade and removes stains from the surface of your teeth. 

According to the American Dental Association, the most common teeth whitening services use active ingredients, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, to weaken stains on a molecular level.

At-home teeth whitening products can contain 3% to 20%, and solutions from your dentist can contain 15% to 43% hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.

The results can vary based on the condition of your teeth but generally depend on the solution and amount of time in contact with your teeth. 

The stronger the solution and the longer you keep it on your teeth, the whiter your results can be.


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Teeth Whitening Options – In-Office or At-Home

In-Office Teeth Whitening

One type of in-office whitening service involves applying a peroxide gel, with or without a light during multiple visits. However, evidence does not suggest that light is effective in accelerating whitening. 

Another in-office bleaching procedure, called power bleaching, uses a highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide solution in water, which can be applied for up to 30 minutes and delivers results in just one session. While it may seem like a quick fix, this method actually desiccates the teeth or dries them out rapidly, giving them the appearance of being much whiter than they are. If you’re looking for a quick fix, this may help, but only temporarily. Dry teeth also stain easier, so the results won’t last as long. 

Additionally, the high peroxide concentration can leave you more susceptible to sensitivity.

The practitioners at Mint Dental Works do not believe the light method is effective or economical for patients and have elected not to offer this service. Power bleaching is also not something we offer or recommend for whitening as the drawbacks to this quick fix can lead to extreme sensitivity and the whitening effects are typically very short-lived. Our practice chooses to utilize a tray method that allows you to continue your treatments in the comfort of your own home to achieve your teeth whitening goals.

A visit to Mint Dental Works in Portland includes custom-molded trays that fit your teeth perfectly. Our prescription-strength gel brightens your smile faster and keeps your teeth whiter longer with touch-ups whenever you need them.

Brighten those pearly whites today at Mint Dental Works.


At-Home Teeth Whitening

Strips and Gels

Most teeth whitening strips and gels typically use 5% to 14% hydrogen peroxide and can be effective when applied once or twice a day for 10 to 14 days. 

While strips can lighten your teeth by a shade or two with results lasting four months or longer, they don’t offer the coverage that custom trays from your dentist would. 

The lack of coverage means strips will often leave a noticeable line where the strip loses contact with the tooth.


Tray-Based Bleach

Your dentist will make a custom mold of your teeth where you can apply the whitening gel yourself and put it on for a recommended period, usually between 30 minutes to several hours.

Studies show tray-based whitening gels that contain 10% to 38% carbamide peroxide are effective in whitening teeth with long-lasting results. 

Tray-based products can be less expensive than a single in-office treatment and are a more gradual way to achieve similar levels of whitening – the approach Mint Dental Works prefers. 

Tray-based teeth whitening services can take anywhere from a week to10 days to achieve the desired level of whitening, but the results are better than most at-home whitening kits, thanks to their concentration and coverage.


Toothpastes and Rinses

It seems every brand of toothpaste and rinse has a line that claims to have whitening power.

Unlike bleaching products, most brands of whitening toothpaste primarily rely on abrasives to help remove or prevent stains. Although some brands of toothpaste and rinses contain low levels of peroxide to help lighten tooth color.

Some toothpaste has incorporated ingredients that can increase the abrasive cleaning power with ingredients like Blue Covarine and claims to improve the appearance of whiteness following up to 12 weeks of use. 

However, a study found no significant difference between a Blue Covarine-containing toothpaste and a standard whitening toothpaste. 

The same study also found that neither toothpaste was as effective as a tray-based bleaching treatment.


Alternative Options

Natural options for teeth whitening have also become more popular. Alternative natural teeth-whitening agents can offer a milder way of whitening teeth than whiteners containing hydrogen peroxide.

If you’re looking for foods that can protect and help whiten your teeth while satisfying your tastebuds, consider fruits that contain malic acid. 

Malic acid is a natural astringent that removes superficial staining on teeth. 

Common foods that contain malic acid include:

  • Lemons
  • Strawberries
  • Watermelon; and
  • Papaya

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) has also been found to be an effective stain remover on teeth and assist in whitening tooth discoloration. 

Activated charcoal has become a widely popular natural active ingredient used in many beauty products, including those that claim to whiten your teeth. However, there is insufficient data to support that activated charcoal can effectively whiten your teeth.


teeth whitening service


Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening Services

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Research shows that when the manufacturer’s protocol is followed, teeth whitening is generally safe and effective.

There are some risks involved with teeth whitening services, depending on the technique and concentration of the product used, including:

  • Increased tooth sensitivity 
  • Increased gingival irritation
  • Roughening and softening of the tooth surface 
  • Demineralization
  • Degradation of dental restorations; and
  • Decreased change in color of dental restorations 

The best way to ensure your teeth are whitened safely is to have it professionally done by a dentist.


How Much Does Good Teeth Whitening Cost?

Teeth whitening services that produce the fastest results, like in-office bleaching, can cost between $500 and $1000 per session. Custom tray-based procedures done at home can generally cost between $200 and $600 but take longer with this preferred gradual approach. 

You can consult your health insurance provider, but unfortunately most insurance companies don’t cover aesthetic procedures like teeth whitening.

For information about the most cost-effective teeth whitening services in the Portland area, contact Mint Dental Works.

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 Is it Worth Going to the Dentist to Whiten Teeth?

Visiting your dentist and having your teeth whitened under professional supervision is a great way to ensure the best possible results. 

Your dentist can provide an informed evaluation of your teeth, consult with you about your desired outcome, and develop a custom plan on how to safely achieve your whitest smile.


How Long Does the Teeth Whitening Process Take?

The duration of a teeth whitening process varies depending on the method you use.

Procedures done in office by a professional can take up to an hour per session, while at-home kits and whitening toothpaste can take several days to weeks to achieve noticeable results.


How Long Do the Results of Teeth Whitening Last?

The results of teeth whitening can last from a few months to a couple of years. Many factors can affect the longevity of results from tooth whitening services including:

  • Genetic factors such as your natural tooth color and how porous your tooth enamel is
  • Whitening ingredients used
  • Oral health
  • Oral hygiene habits; and 
  • Lifestyle factors 

Smoking or dietary habits are the biggest lifestyle factors that can affect how long your results will last. 

Most dentists will recommend sticking to foods that wouldn’t stain a white shirt, especially in the first few days following your teeth whitening procedure.

If you must, use a straw for drinks like coffee, tea, soda, wine, and fruit juice to preserve your white smile for as long as possible.


Does Teeth Whitening Cause Sensitivity?

Depending on the type of teeth whitening service, some people may experience temporary sensitivity.

The higher concentrations of peroxide in the prescription strength teeth whitening gel can cause your teeth to be more sensitive to extreme temperatures. 

However, the sensitivity often goes away within the week and there are desensitizing products available to help with discomfort


How Can I Maintain My Whitened Teeth?

If you want to maintain your white smile for as long as possible there are a few things you can do.

Practicing good oral hygiene, like brushing twice a day, flossing, avoiding foods that contain dyes, and limiting drinks that tend to stain your teeth, can help. 

Returning for periodic touch-ups can also help maintain your teeth whitening results.


teeth whitening services


Is There Anyone Who Should Not Get Teeth Whitening Done?

Yes, there are a few types of people who should avoid teeth whitening services or may not see the best results.

If you have tooth-colored composite enamel at the front of your teeth, you won’t see any change in the fillings. Similarly, if you’ve had crowns or veneers, the whitening solution will not whiten the porcelain, only your natural teeth. 

The whitening solution will only work on the tooth, so you may find your teeth have whitened, but the composite enamel now stands out, looking darker than your teeth.

If you already have sensitive teeth, whitening may not be for you. 

The bleaching process can cause extra sensitivity afterward, which may be even more painful for those with existing sensitivity.

If you have white lesions on your teeth due to decalcification or grayish-looking teeth due to chemical treatments like tetracycline, you should discuss the possible results with your dentist, as these stains typically don’t bleach well. 

Additionally, if your teeth are already fairly white, you may not see much of a change from whitening.

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Ready for a Brighter, More Confident Smile? Schedule Your Professional Teeth Whitening Service With Mint Dental Works in SE Portland

It’s no secret that a friendly smile is contagious, but if you don’t feel confident in yours, you might find it hard to share.

Let Mint Dental Works restore your radiant smile with a professional teeth whitening service.

At Mint Dental Works in southeast Portland, we take an environmentally friendly approach to dentistry. 

As the country’s first LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) dental office, we offer high-tech, sustainable dentistry to ensure your smile stays white and the planet stays green.

We maintain our commitment to people, the planet, and prosperity by:

  • Minimizing our waste
  • Improving our energy efficiency
  • Reducing our water usage; and
  • Rejecting the use of toxic materials

Schedule your appointment at Mint Dental Works today and smile with confidence!


The content in this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.