BriteSmile Teeth Whitening:
Will It Work For Me?

BriteSmile is one of the most well known and popular in-office whitening procedures offered today. It’s been featured in newspapers, magazines, and television broadcasts around the globe.

Does it have a 100% satisfaction rate? Unfortunately, no. But I haven't seen any teeth whitening system, in-home or in-office, that completely satisfied 100% of it's customers, 100% of the time.

The procedure is both fast and easy, with long-lasting results for most people. It's an excellent way for professional men and women on the go to obtain whiter, healthier-looking teeth.

14 BriteSmile Teeth Whitening
Questions and Answers

Question 1. How do I know BriteSmile Teeth Whitening is right for me?

Although many individuals will qualify for treatment, not everyone does.

For instance, if your teeth and gums are not healthy, it may hinder the effectiveness of the treatment. You'll want to speak with your dentist about your unique circumstances.

When you visit your dentist, she will gather information during the initial consultation and screening, including a thorough examination of your teeth and gums to ensure they’re healthy.

Your dentist also will talk to you about your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits to determine if you would benefit from teeth whitening.

Question 2. When is Teeth Whitening Used With Other Treatments?

In some circumstances your dentist may recommend teeth whitening before completing other needed work because it may ensure you have a better color match among your teeth.

For instance, if you plan to have other cosmetic dental procedures such as veneers, crowns, bridges, tooth-colored fillings, composite bonding, or after the removal of braces.

Question 3.  What conditions would prevent me from qualifying for the in-office BriteSmile treatment?

If your dentist discovers any of the following conditions, you may not qualify for the treatment. (However, once the issues are taken care of, you may be able to whiten your teeth):

  • Tooth and gum hypersensitivity. To avoid a hypersensitive reaction, your dentist is likely to recommend take-home bleaching trays with a low concentration of carbamide peroxide – which is not as potent as hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is used in the BriteSmile treatment.

  • Deep and severe staining. Unfortunately, some stains resist even high-concentration in-office bleaches. If this is the case with your teeth, then your dentist may recommend a supervised regimen of intensive take-home bleaching, or alternatives to teeth whitening such as composite bonding, crowns, or porcelain veneers.

  • Teeth that have become transparent with age. This often happens with front teeth, which are thin to begin with.

  • Existing dental work. Crowns, veneers, bridges, bonding, and tooth-colored fillings won’t respond to conventional whitening agents. This would then leave your teeth with a mottled look.

  • If you are pregnant or nursing. The chance of swallowing the bleaching agent used in the whitening gel could potentially harm your fetus or the baby.

Question 4. Will BriteSmile Tooth Whitening really get my teeth whiter?

The BriteSmile website claims patients consistently give the treatment a 98% satisfaction rating. But to be perfectly honest, absolute success is variable and cannot be guaranteed.

Your dentist will probably tell you that while significant whitening can be achieved in many cases, she cannot definitely predict how light your teeth will get.

That's because the degree of whiteness you'll achieve from the treatment depends on the condition of your teeth, the level of straining, and the type of bleaching used.

To give you a rough idea of what kind of success you might have:

  • If you have yellow or yellow-brown teeth, for instance, BriteSmile will tend to whiten better or quicker than if you have gray or gray-brown teeth.

  • If your teeth are discolored by antibiotics, decalcification (white spots), root canal therapy, trauma, or are overexposed to fluoride, they won’t always respond as quickly or predictably. And they may even require further treatment.

  • Stains from the antibiotic tetracycline are very difficult and almost impossible to whiten. The stain gets darker and darker the deeper you go into the tooth’s “core.” If you have this type of stain, your dentist might recommend covering it with a porcelain veneer instead of whitening.

  •  If your teeth are already a light shade of white, for example a shade of A1-B1 or offscale on the Vita-Shade guide, you probably would only see a minimal increase in whiteness.

Question 5. What happens during a BriteSmile whitening treatment?

First, the dental professional will carefully apply the BriteSmile whitening gel to your teeth.

Next, the BriteSmile’s patented bleaching light is used for 20 minutes to activate the gel. During this time, you can relax – either listening to music or watching TV.

After this first application, you’ll receive two more applications – each 20 minutes long. In many cases, the result is considerably whiter teeth.

Question 6. How long does the entire treatment take?

From start to finish, you can expect the teeth whitening treatment to take just a little more than 60 minutes during one visit.

Question 7. What type of whitener is used?

BriteSmile says it uses a proprietary hydrogen peroxide-based whitening gel.

This gel contains only a 15% peroxide (versus as much as 35% to 50% in other whitening gel brands), meaning it's not as harsh on your teeth and gums.

It's also pH balanced and therefore compatible with your tooth enamel.

In addition, the gel contains glycerin and water to help prevent tooth dehydration, a major contributor to tooth sensitivity.

An “accelerator” is added to the gel just before it’s applied to the patient’s teeth to increase its effectiveness.

Question 8. Is a bleaching light required?

Yes. BriteSmile currently uses an LED (light-emitting diode) bleaching light, which is said to be clinically safe for tooth enamel, skin, gums, and other soft tissue.

Made especially for use with the BriteSmile whitening system, the lamp emits light at a specified wavelength. This wavelength activates the photo-initiator included in the whitener’s formulation, thus boosting its effectiveness.

The company claims several benefits to using its patented bleaching light:

  • It's not a laser;

  • It emits no heat or harmful UV (ultraviolet) light;

  • It's shaped to illuminate and whiten all of your teeth (both upper and lower) at the same time -- allowing your dentist to perform treatments easier and more efficiently, and minimizing the amount of heat your teeth will feel during the treatment.

Question 9. Will at-home treatments be necessary?

This is something that your dentist will decide.

Please be aware, though, that through the normal staining process of day-to-day eating and drinking, you may experience a slight regression of shade.

This will depend on the frequency of your use of tobacco products, coffee, tea, red wine, and other staining foods/drinks.

If your dentist sees this as a concern, he will likely recommend you follow a post-whitening maintenance program at home. This will help your teeth maintain their new white smile for up to a year or more.

A post-whitening maintenance program typically will include proprietary products such as :

  • Brushing with their toothpaste, especially after meals;

  • Rinsing with their mouth rinse after brushing;

  • Flossing between teeth;

  • Visiting your dentist regularly for scheduled teeth cleanings;

  • Avoiding tobacco products and all foods and beverages that can stain, such as coffee, tea, red wine, cola, blueberries, etc.

You could also follow these 7 inexpensive ways to whiten teeth naturally at home.

 Question 10. How long do the results last?

The length of time the whitening lasts varies -- anywhere from one month to a year or more. But one thing is certain -- it's not permanent.

You can, however, as I've already mentioned in the previous answer, follow your dentist's recommended post-whitening maintenance program to maintain your pearly whites for up to a year or more.

Question 11. How much does BriteSmile teeth whitening cost?

The cost varies widely depending on your location. Prices typically range from $400 to $600, with some prices as low as $299. According to website Real Self, the average cost is $375.

Keep in mind that your cost can be higher if your dentist recommends teeth cleaning or other procedures before whitening your teeth.

There are also post-whitening procedures that are recommended in order to maintain the new shade of white. This, too, adds to the final cost.

Question 12. How safe is the BriteSmile teeth whitening system?

Its patented teeth whitening system is reported to be both safe and effective, according to a clinical study published in the February 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Dental Association – and with results that last for years.

Additional studies on their safety are listed on the corporate website. 

In addition, your dental professional oversees the entire whitening procedure to ensure safety and consistent results.

Whitening teeth with BriteSmile also is gentle. The procedure doesn’t require a laser and there’s no heat from its blue-light technology.

The soothing light allows the use of a lower active ingredient in the proprietary whitening gel. This means you may experience only minor and temporary sensitivity or no sensitivity at all. 

NOTE:  Although the BriteSmile tooth whitening treatment is considered safe, there are certain risks you need to be aware of:

  • Sensitivity. You may experience a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch as a result of the in-office whitening -- especially if you have gum recession or significant cracks in your teeth.

    There's less chance of this occurring with BriteSmile because it uses a lower concentration of the bleaching agent. If you experience any sensitivity, your dentist may recommend a toothpaste containing potassium nitrate for sensitive teeth.

  • Gum irritation. While they use a lower concentration of bleaching agent than other treatments, there's always a chance you may experience some temporary gum irritation.

  • Technicolor teeth. If you elect to have tooth whitening done when you have existing dental restorations, such as bonding, crowns or porcelain veneers, these dental restorations will not be whitened by the bleach. This results in what is called technicolor teeth.

Question 13. Does dental insurance cover the cost of whitening teeth?

Dental insurance ordinarily does not cover the cost for cosmetic teeth whitening treatments.  However, some dental plans may help you get a discount.

Question 14. How does BriteSmile teeth whitening compare with other procedures for whitening teeth?

See for yourself from this screen shot of their comparison page.

More Teeth Whitening Related Pages:

Find a Professional Teeth Whitening Dentist

Teeth Whitening Basics

Use Teeth Whitening Gel at Home Successfully

Home > Teeth Whitening > Laser Teeth Whitening > BriteSmile

Get a brighter, healthier smile with SmileSteps

Join our newsletter for advice, product reviews, special promotions, and never miss out on upcoming events, webinars, and giveaways.

comments powered by Disqus

Get News for Patients, Dentists, and Dental Technicians

Compare Dental and Health Insurance

Find Discount Dental Plans