The Difference Between Dental Cleaning and Whitening

What’s the difference between cleaning and whitening your teeth?
03 Jan 2022

Are you interested in professional teeth whitening in Guelph? Different from dental cleaning (an essential part of hygiene), whitening is about restoring shine to your pearly whites. When you plan your whitening along with your dental cleaning, you can improve the health of your teeth and their look immensely. In this post, we break down the difference between dental whitening and cleaning, and explore the benefits of both. Let’s dive in.

Why choose professional teeth whitening in Guelph?

Choosing a professional for dental whitening involves research, including learning how it works and the impacts on your dental health. Whitening uses a bleaching solution to remove staining on the teeth. The solution consists of hydrogen peroxide. However, where the solution is concentrated depends on the level of staining.

Even with excellent dental hygiene, it’s still common to get tooth stains. Among the most prevalent causes for staining are:

  • Drinking coffee or tea
  • Regular red wine consumption
  • Soda and juice
  • Sauces with deep colours
  • Sports drinks
  • Acid reflux or indigestion
  • Candy and sugary foods

You can battle stains in between whitening sessions by rinsing after you consume any of these items. Proper brushing and cleanings are paramount when preventing tooth stains, but they are two very different services (that do pair well together).

Dental Cleaning

At Guelph Family Dentistry, we take pride in preventative dentistry. This means encouraging regular cleanings and exams. In Ontario, the standard is a visit every six months. So, twice a year, visit the dentist for the hygienist to remove the plaque, biofilm, and tartar from your teeth.

Using specialized tools, the first step relies on ultrasonic technology to loosen the debris. A jet of water follows, pushing the debris off the teeth. The hygienist follows this with a scraper and another cycle of pressurized water, repeating until the debris is gone.

A dental cleaning removes cavity-causing buildup and protects everything from your gums to the enamel of your teeth. You can opt for dental treatments at this time, such as fluoride or whitening. Dental cleanings usually coincide with exams since both are critical to oral health.


  • Helps to prevent cavities
  • Keeps gums healthy
  • Can improve overall physical health
  • Improves breath and taste in the mouth

Cons: There aren’t really any downsides to getting your teeth cleaned. It’s a critical part of healthcare. That said, cleanings can irritate the gums and can cause a bit of jaw strain. However, that’s a pretty small price to pay for good oral health.

Scheduling: Every province has different suggestions as to how often you should get a professional cleaning. In some areas, it is a full year. In Guelph, the Ontario Dental Association suggests a bi-annual schedule. By seeing a dentist every six months, you can focus on preventing issues instead of incurring costly expenses down the road.

Dental Whitening

Guelph Family Dentistry uses proven techniques to lighten teeth. Classified as an elective procedure, it involves the dental professional applying bleaching agents to the teeth. When you use professional whitening as a part of your regular dental upkeep, you can control the brightness level and obtain that ideal smile.

Usually, it takes one or two appointments to get the desired results. These take roughly 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the level of staining on your teeth. Our dentists are trained to provide even whitening, considering everything from staining levels to veneers and caps. The result is a desirable smile with a consistent shine that is easy to maintain.


  • It’s a low-cost elective procedure
  • Dental monitoring prevents tooth damage
  • Drastically improves smile appearance
  • Controlled whitening for even, realistic results
  • Professional whitening reduces sensitivity


  • Elective procedures aren’t covered by most insurance policies
  • It costs slightly more than an at-home whitening kit
  • The process takes longer than a regular cleaning

Scheduling: The easiest way to schedule teeth whitening is along with your regular dental cleaning every six months. It lets you access the service efficiently and incorporate it into a hygiene program. This also enables the dentist to track any health results of the whitening session.

Health Benefits of Dental Cleaning and Whitening

There’s no shortage of benefits to having clean, healthy teeth. From your mouth tasting better and holding fewer odours to the feeling of a smooth enamel surface, having clean, sparkling teeth can improve your health in many ways.

Mental health: Practicing proper, routine dental hygiene sets aside time (even if it’s 5 minutes twice a day) to focus on your well-being.

Whitening has its perks too. You work hard on your dental health, and seeing a yellowish smile might not match how you feel. Dentists control the level of whitening, keeping your teeth healthy and getting the aesthetic results you seek. The confidence that comes with white teeth and the calm that clean teeth offer have noteworthy mental health advantages.

Physical health: Periodontal health (the well-being of your gums) impacts everything from your heart to your blood sugar levels. The mouth plays a major role in metabolism, undergoing wear and tear every time you eat. While your body has natural mechanisms to battle back damage to your teeth, it still needs active intervention. This includes brushing, flossing, drinking water, and, most importantly, getting regular cleanings.

Dental Whitening and the New Normal

Going to the dentist can be overwhelming, but we come prepared. Even before the pandemic, dentists upheld rigorous healthcare standards to prevent the spread of pathogens. This keeps patients safe, and makes sure that you can maintain proper dental care. The best start is with your dental exam and cleaning.

Understanding the difference between whitening and cleaning is important. Whitening is both an elective procedure and takes a bit more time than a simple cleaning. To accommodate modern office standards, plan your whitening session ahead of time. In under an hour, whitening will restore your teeth to brightness.

Final Notes

Now that you know the difference between dental whitening and cleaning, you can make the proper plans. Cleaning is about physical health, making sure that you avoid cavities and gum inflammation. Whitening is about restoring your teeth to that perfect shine, removing the stains of the old and returning your teeth to the look you want. Taking control of your smile means gaining strength, both mental and physical, so you can achieve your dreams.

To find out more about professional whitening and dental cleaning, reach out to Guelph Family Dentistry at (888) 588-1691 or send us a message here. We can’t wait to help you achieve the perfect smile!

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Dr. Omar Al-Azzawi
Dr. Omar Al-Azzawi

Dr. Omar got his BDS degree in 2002 from the University of Baghdad. He has also completed a master degree in Prosthetic Dentistry from the University of Malaya, Malaysia in 2009. Dr. Omar got his DDS in 2013 in Canada after passing the National Dental Examination Board of Canada (NDEB) exams. Read More

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