One-hour whitening

Sept. 1, 2002
Offering one-hour teeth whitening will establish your practice as a 21st century, state-of-the art, advanced aesthetic center.

Louis Malcmacher, DDS

Offering one-hour teeth whitening will establish your practice as a 21st century, state-of-the art, advanced aesthetic center.

After 20 years as a private practitioner and consultant, I have seen major developments in dental materials. Many have stayed with us, bringing life-changing experiences in our dental careers. I like life-changing experiences, not only for me and my practice, but also for my patients. Clearly, the entire tooth-bleaching phenomenon has changed patient attitudes toward dentistry and given them a real appreciation for how easily their smiles can improve aesthetically. Millions have had their teeth whitened, a trend that is partly responsible for the continuing cosmetic dentistry boom. However, there is one area of this experience that we can improve.

Patients - like all of us - want instant gratification. How many times have you heard patients state, "You know, I'd love to bleach my teeth, but I need it done for a wedding I'm going to tomorrow. Can you do that?" The answer we can give them today is, "Yes, absolutely!" One-hour teeth whitening systems allow doctors to bleach a patient's teeth over a lunch hour. If they want it done today, you can actually do it today. Patients can leave your office one hour later with a substantial shade change. The results are nothing short of dramatic. The instantaneous improvement to their smiles can have life-changing consequences.

Twenty years ago, dentists were just beginning to offer tray bleaching to patients. Some practitioners resisted the concept, and even insinuated that it was malpractice. Today, due to consumer demand, almost all dental offices offer tray bleaching. It's all about competition. Dentists learned the hard way that patients will go elsewhere to find this highly desired service.

That same consumer revolution is now occurring with one-hour whitening. As patients realize this option is available, and as publicity for the procedure increases, the demand will intensify exponentially just as it did with tray bleaching. Patients inquire about one-hour whitening almost daily. Marketing has played a powerful role in increasing this demand. Patients see ads for one-hour tooth whitening in publications like People, Newsweek, Time, and Vogue. These articles generate an incredible interest in the procedure.

Most one-hour whitening systems use a similar process. After proper retraction is accomplished, a specially formulated, highly concentrated peroxide gel is placed on the teeth for 45 to 60 minutes. The dentist then activates the gel with a high-powered light. The gel is rinsed off and reapplied a couple of times with subsequent light activation. You can actually see the whitening process happen through the translucent gel. Most of these steps can be delegated to a qualified auxiliary, which frees the dentist to do other procedures.

These whitening systems can be highly profitable. A fee of approximately $100 to $200 over your normal charge for tray whitening is appropriate for the added time needed to provide this service.

One-hour teeth whitening truly is an amazing process to watch. I get excited every time I perform this procedure on patients because I know how pleased they will be with the final result.

Offering one-hour teeth whitening will establish your practice as a 21st century, state-of-the-art, advanced aesthetic center. The advantages are many. It gives patients what they want; it is exciting for the dental staff; and creates a life-changing experience that is gratifying for both the patient and the dental professional.

Dr. Louis Malcmacher is an internationally known lecturer and author, known for his practical and entertaining style. Dr. Malcmacher is an evaluator for CRA and is a consultant to the Council on Dental Practice of the ADA. He works closely with dental manufacturers as a clinical researcher in developing new products and techniques. His group general practice has maintained a 45 percent overhead since 1988. For more information on his speaking schedule, Dr. Malcmacher can be reached at (440) 892-1810 or via email at [email protected].

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