• Bright teeth look great and the only way to get them their whitest is by professionally supervised bleaching from a dentist.
  • Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to dramatically change your smile.
  • We offer at-home whitening and will make you customized trays and provide you with all of the supplies and instructions to complete the whitening process in the privacy of your own home. The procedure is safe and effective with dramatic results in only days or weeks.

All About Teeth Whitening (Bleaching)


Should I bleach my teeth?

  • Many patients want to remove stains caused by coffee, tea, smoking or lighten teeth that have darkened with age.
  • Around 90% of patients who whiten their teeth are successful.
  • Most people feel that whiter teeth appear more youthful.

Is bleaching teeth safe?

  • Yes, although some people report sensitive gums and teeth.
  • The sensitivity is a normal side effect, is not harmful and will subside a few days after treatment is stopped.
  • The active ingredient in most whitening agents is carbamide peroxide and this is converted to hydrogen peroxide which lightens the teeth.

Can I have my teeth whitened at the dental office?

  • Yes, in-office bleaching usually takes between 30 to 90 minutes to complete and might require a few visits.
  • Our dentist, Dr. Norma Cortez, will use an in-office bleach system.
  • In-office whitening is usually more expensive than in-home whitening.

What is in-home whitening?

  • The dentist will take an impression of your teeth and then make custom mouthpieces (trays) to fit your teeth.
  • The dentist will give you a supply of bleaching gel.
  • The gel is applied to the tray and tray is worn anywhere from 30 minutes up to several hours—the time spent wearing the tray depends on the strength of the whitening gel you are using.
  • Care should be taken to use only the prescribed amount of gel as excess material can contact your gums and cause irritation.
  • In-home bleaching typically requires a few weeks to complete.

What about over-the-counter bleaching systems?

  • These systems are usually safe and cost-effective.
  • The concentrations of the bleaching agents are usually not very strong, so it takes longer to get results.

How long does bleaching last?

  • Bleaching typically lasts from 1 to 5 years, depending on oral hygiene and personal habits that can stain the teeth (coffee, tea, smoking, etc.).
  • A “touch up” is recommended and will often only require getting more bleaching gel from the dental office assuming the trays still fit the teeth.

Final Thoughts

  • Results vary, and each person is different.
  • Yellow, orange, and brown stains respond better to bleaching.
  • Teeth with gray stains caused by tetracycline, fluorosis, or smoking can be lightened, but the results can vary.
  • Veneers should be considered for teeth with severe tetracycline or fluorosis staining.
  • Any tooth restorations such as composite fillings (bonding), porcelain veneers, or crowns will not change shades.

To learn more about teeth whitening in Wilmington, North Carolina, or to schedule an appointment with Cape Fear Smiles, call our office at 910-763-0931.