How to achieve and maintain a whiter smile

Due to several health and lifestyle factors, teeth may become discoloured over time. Our dentists in Vancouver offer insights and advice on how you can achieve and maintain a whiter smile.

Teeth Whitening Options

Curious about teeth whitening? Your Vancouver dentists can take you through various teeth whitening options, including laser teeth whitening, custom bleaching trays and over-the-counter treatments.

Laser (UV Light) Teeth Whitening

The Sapphire Whitening System uses UV light in combination with a specifically formulated whitening gel to whiten teeth. The procedure is performed by a dental professional and may even produce same-day results (though it may also require further appointments to achieve the desired results). UV light teeth whitening should be performed by your dentist for safety reasons. 

UV light is a type of magnetic radiation that heats up during the tooth whitening process. Laser is one type of UV light used.

To start, the dentist will apply a barrier over your gums to protect them from the whitening solution. Next, the solution is applied to your teeth using a syringe before the dentist uses a small laser to activate the formula. As it lifts the stains from your teeth, the compound will foam. 

Once your teeth have whitened, the dentist will allow the solution to sit for a period of time before using a small vacuum tool to remove it. Your dentist will repeat these steps 2 to 3 times (in most cases) until the desired result is achieved. 

Custom Bleaching Trays

Take-home teeth whitening trays allow you to whiten your teeth over a longer period of time, in the comfort and flexibility of your own home. However, your dentist can also use custom trays to whiten your teeth with a stronger whitening solution in-office. In-office whitening treatments use a much higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide. Home treatments use about 5%, whereas in-office treatments usually use up to 43%.

To start, your dentist will create a custom mould of your teeth. This ultimately allows the lab to create your whitening trays. These custom trays are made to fit your teeth as exactly as possible and provide uniform coverage for the whitening gel. Your dentist will then set the tray firmly against your teeth, wiping off any excess gel, and keep the tray on your teeth anywhere from 30-60 minutes before removing it and cleaning your teeth.

Alternatively, the dentist will provide you with the necessary instructions and materials to use the trays at home.

Over-The-Counter Treatments

While over-the-counter treatments are affordable and easy to use, they might not be as effective as professional treatments. Some common over-the-counter treatments available at your local drugstore include whitening strips, special toothpaste, and take-home whitening trays.

Maintaining Your Teeth Whitening Results

There are a variety of ways to maintain your whitened teeth, including watching your diet, brushing & flossing, and touch-ups.


Whenever possible, avoid foods and beverages that may stain your teeth. Things like coffee, tea, certain spices (like curry), and foods like chocolate and dark fruit might discolour and stain your teeth over time.

Brushing & Flossing

A good oral hygiene routine can help keep your smile bright. Brushing and flossing remove food and drink residue from your teeth that may otherwise stain them, and thorough brushing and regular professional cleanings can help polish away surface stains.

Whitening Touch-Ups & Maintenance

You may find that in spite of your best efforts, after a period of time, your teeth might need a whitening touch-up. This is normal! Get in touch with your dentist to discuss your touch-up options.

If you have questions about teeth whitening and maintaining a whiter smile, contact our Vancouver dentists today!

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We're happy to accept new patients at our Vancouver dental clinic! Get in touch to get started today.

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