Teeth Whitening

Restore a brilliant smile.

Pending Medical Review

Updated 8 December 2021

Marilyn Monroe once said, “Keep smiling because life is a beautiful thing, and there is so much to smile about.”


Now, isn’t that the truth?

A smile transcends language and ethnicity; it conveys warmth and friendliness all around the world. No matter what language you speak or what part of the world you are from, a smile means the same everywhere.


Unfortunately, not all of us are born with pearly white teeth. Some can be affected with congenital disorders, making the teeth appear discolored. Discolored teeth can also be a side effect of medications like tetracycline.

However, even if some of us are born with naturally white teeth, the perils of the oral environment, habits like smoking, certain food substances, and aging can make the teeth appear discolored and stained.

In either of these situations, it compromises the smile’s appearance and can be a source of stress and anxiety for many. If discolored and stained teeth are bothering you, you can opt for professional teeth whitening treatments.


Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental therapy that aims to lighten the color of your teeth and give you whiter teeth. The procedure takes the help of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These active agents essentially bleach the tooth surface and remove stains to reveal a brighter and glowing smile.

Teeth Whitening with Flash at OG Center
Teeth Whitening with Flash at OG Center in San Jose, Costa Rica

When is a Teeth Whitening Procedure Appropriate?

Professional teeth whitening treatments can make a massive difference if you have discolored and stained teeth. Teeth whitening is considered to be appropriate for people who are medically fit and do not have any acute illnesses. Ideally, it should be performed in patients with healthy gums and teeth.

Moreover, if you have sensitive teeth or many dental restorations and crowns, teeth whitening may not be recommended. It may also be contraindicated in heavy smokers as the results are usually short-lived, and the teeth get stained soon after.

What Are the Different Teeth Whitening Techniques?

Teeth whitening can be done professionally or at home with the help of teeth whitening take-home kits. Although, it is worth noting that teeth whitening, if not done under the careful supervision of a dentist, can be risky and can lead to complications. Therefore, it is advised to consult a dentist and opt for professional teeth whitening treatment for adequate and safe results.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Techniques

Chairside teeth whitening or in-office teeth whitening technique is done by a dentist in a dental clinic. Before starting the procedure, your dentist will apply a protective gel or cover your gums and oral tissues. Next, they will apply a teeth whitening gel to the intended tooth surfaces. 30-45% hydrogen peroxide gel is used, which dissolves and removes the stains on the teeth’ surface. Next, the teeth are washed and cleaned, revealing lighter and brighter teeth. You may require more than one appointment to achieve desired results.

Zoom! Teeth Whitening

Cosmetic dentistry has seen brilliant advances in recent times, and one of these happens to be Zoom whitening. With this technique, you can get up to eight shades lighter teeth in just under 45 minutes and don’t have to wait for months to see results. This procedure offers a hassle-free and convenient teeth whitening experience.

The procedure starts with a thorough dental clinic, following which the lips, gums, and oral soft tissues are covered, leaving the teeth exposed. Next, zoom! teeth whitening gel is applied all over your teeth, which is activated by zoom! special light. The gel penetrates the teeth’ surfaces and breaks up the stains and discolorations. The exposure of the whitening gel to UV light helps the active ingredients penetrate the tooth surface more efficiently, leading to better and faster results. This is done in three 15 minutes sessions. You will be able to appreciate the results instantly post-treatment.

Laser Teeth Whitening

The introduction of lasers has changed the way dental procedures, especially cosmetic procedures, are done. Laser teeth whitening is an efficient way to remove stains and discolorations from the teeth, leaving them to appear brighter and whiter.

Special care is taken to cover the gums and oral soft tissues, after which a hydrogen peroxide gel is applied to the intended teeth. Next, a laser is used to generate heat which initiates a chemical reaction. This leads to the stains breaking down and revealing whiter teeth. Each tooth is individually treated, and the time required for the complete procedure will depend on the number of teeth being treated.


Flash is a novel method of professional teeth whitening. First, a cheek retractor is placed to ensure all your teeth are visible. Next, a protective gel is placed and cured with UV light to ensure a tight seal. This is done to protect your gums from the whitening gel. Once done, the teeth are dried, and a whitening gel is applied to the teeth’ surface. After this, the flash lamp is placed near the patient, touching the cheek retractor. The program and timer are set, and the cycle is started. After completion of the cycle, the gel is removed and teeth dried. This process is repeated two more times, after which the teeth are rinsed and the protective layer and retractor removed. You can expect five to six times lighter teeth in just a single sitting.

Take-Home Teeth Whitening Techniques

Many dental clinics also offer professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits that produce excellent results over time. Take-home kits consist of lower-concentration peroxide gel that remains on the teeth for an hour or, at times, are left overnight. The gel is loaded on custom-made trays that resemble mouth guards that fit the teeth. Take-home whitening kits do not give instant results and may take months as the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is low. However, these are safe as they are performed under professional supervision.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

The price of teeth whitening varies depending on the clinic and the whitening method. Below is a list of prices you can expect to pay in various countries.

In-Office Teeth Whitening Cost Table
Country Price
United States $650
Mexico $171
Costa Rica $350
Colombia $117

Price information based on data from the Consumer Guide to Dentistry and internal data at Apollo Medical Travel.

What is the Experience Like?

What Are the Risks of Teeth Whitening?

Although teeth whitening is safe, there are certain risks and complications that can arise following the procedure like –

  • It can lead to temporary teeth sensitivity.
  • If performed in unsupervised conditions or is overdone, it can produce permanent teeth sensitivity. Teeth sensitivity happens due to enamel (protective tooth covering) damage.
  • There is always a risk of chemical burns to the gums and oral tissues. This risk becomes more apparent with take-home kits.

Therefore, it is always recommended that you consult a dentist before going for any teeth whitening procedures. Professional teeth whitening will ensure you have safe and effective teeth whitening experience.

Additional Resources


  1. Antonson, S. A., & Abuzinadah, A. J. (2020, April 14). Advancing in-office whitening techniques. Dimensions of Dental Hygiene. Retrieved December 8, 2021, from https://dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/article/advancing-in-office-whitening-techniques/.
    Read Online
  2. Epple M, Meyer F, Enax J. A Critical Review of Modern Concepts for Teeth Whitening. Dent J (Basel). 2019;7(3):79. Published 2019 Aug 1. doi:10.3390/dj7030079
    Read on PubMed

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be used as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider with any questions you have surrounding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it as a result of anything you read on this Site. 

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