Chairside bleaching can be done in two ways. The hygienist uses a very strong bleaching agent alone or in combination with a light/laser. With both, it is important to have recently had a professional dental hygiene appointment where the hygienist cleans your teeth with a sandy, pumice-like material to remove plaque and cleans the surface of the tooth. The tissue is then protected using a light cured dental dam to avoid any irritation to the gums. Then a peroxide-based gel is applied after which a light may be applied to assist the whitening process. Some gels are self-activating and others are activated by the use of a light. The laser does NOT whiten teeth. It merely activates the bleaching gel and initiates the chemical reaction that produces the whitening effect (the laser doesn’t actually penetrate the teeth). The procedure takes about an hour and a half and offers immediate results, although it may take more than one session to achieve the desired level of bleaching.