The steps to successfully introducing teeth whitening into your practice

patient having Philips zoom teeth whitening

Andrew Wallace talks about his steps to success using the Philips Zoom! tooth whitening system.

Dentists have been providing tooth whitening for many years now. Why do we still have a high number of dentists not offering the treatment?

Tooth whitening is still one of those topics mired in myths and disinformation. Most dentists have had no education on tooth whitening and there is no discussion on the topic at undergraduate level.

When I do presentations and lectures, I frequently ask how many of the delegates have read any clinical papers or a book, or attended a lecture on the subject. Out of 100 people, it is not unusual to see only two to three delegates raise their hands. Paradoxically, the UK boasts some of the best educators in tooth whitening!

It becomes apparent that some dentists do not understand the regulations set by EU in 2012 in terms of what we can and can’t do. Hence the very real need for the webcast I will be presenting on 19 May.

What are the perceived obstacles to offering tooth whitening?

I think it does not help that patients often receive misinformation. They hear stories in the press and on social media that tooth whitening strips off enamel or causes pain and sensitivity, and patients believe whatever they read from unreliable sources.

The first thing I have to do is reassure them that what they hear is not necessarily true or is skewed. Then I advise them that I use and recommend Philips Daywhite take home gel, which contains amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP). This is clinically proven to reduce sensitivity and protect enamel. So, in actual fact, whitening when using the right product can build a degree of protection for patients’ teeth. So it is all about educating dentists to have the right answers when patients express their fears.

What is your business strategy for tooth whitening?

In my practice, we carry out the majority of whitening as part of a wider cosmetic plan. Zoom tooth whitening is part of the ABB (align bleach bond) process we advocate. However, we also offer whitening treatments as a stand-alone procedure.

Interestingly, once patients come for this, they suddenly become more aware of and interested in their smile and teeth and often ask for further cosmetic procedures. It is an entry level into a more comprehensive treatment process. We often see improved oral hygiene when patients become more aware of their smile.

What are you going to present in this webinar?

I will cover the key aspects of case selection and steps to ensure greater predictability and success with whitening cases. This includes how to adequately assess cases before treatment, how to communicate potential results to the patient, and how to manage expectations. I will also discuss the main ways to fight sensitivity and the different product types available to use in the UK.

These are pivotal in treating patients the right way, delivering great results and achieving patient satisfaction. Patients need to have a full understanding of what is required from them to achieve a significantly lighter shade. There are different types of discolouration and whitening challenges: tetracycline staining and fluorosis for instance, which the practitioner needs to manage. Checking the suitability of patients is therefore crucial and so is the task of managing their expectations.

The take home message of this webinar will be about improving the predictability of tooth whitening cases.

What are the ingredients to a successful tooth whitening dental practice?

Assessing the eligibility of patients is a must. Then dentists are faced with a variety of tooth whitening products in the UK and it is important to make the right choices. Managing sensitivity is critical as it impacts on patients’ compliance levels, hence on the end results.

I use Philips Zoom! Daywhite for its reliability as well as its ability to counter sensitivity. The unique formula of the gel reduces the amount of tooth sensitivity and makes us more successful in achieving a comfortable as well as a successful treatment outcome. Having the right products provides practitioners like me with more confidence and they therefore feel more at ease offering tooth whitening.

How do you promote the service to your patients?

We promote our whitening treatments on our practice website. We also use a variety of promotional materials provided by Philips to encourage patients to open a dialogue with us about whitening as soon as they sit in the chair. Then we use dental photography and digital scanning to show them what is going on in their mouth. This also shows them how tooth whitening can treat concerns about dull, yellowed, stained or discoloured teeth.

Do you also use social media?

We do, and tooth whitening on our social media channels has been the most beneficial treatment for driving new cosmetic patients.

What are the business benefits of offering tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is a profitable procedure. It also opens minds to other cosmetic procedures and better oral hygiene. So it has proved a massive win both for the patient and the practice.

Are there situations where you have used a different tooth whitening system?

Chairside tooth whitening is the best option for patients who want quick fixes and everything instantly. For time-poor patients, the results I achieve with the Zoom chairside system are as predictable and satisfactory as the take home solutions.

What can you say about patient compliance and also patient satisfaction?

In my practice we also treat a lot of patients who have undergone orthodontic treatments, so the whitening is an essential part of the ABB treatment – they are used to complying.

Patient satisfaction is very high. But this is why it is essential to select the right patients for tooth whitening as home whitening requires an element of compliance. As sensitivity is really the major factor, dentists need to have the right products. This will ensure that patients are compliant to achieve the best results – and with that the satisfaction with their treatment.

Dr Andrew Wallace will be presenting a webinar on the FMC platform on 19 May 2020 at 7.00 pm. To register please visit

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