Smiling projects confidence that can help score a promotion or land a date! But, tooth discoloration can make it difficult to smile when it matters most.

Teeth whitening is our most popular cosmetic dental procedure because it produces instant results! Plus, it can be done in the office or at home. Learn more about the advanced teeth whitening procedures we offer at Old Town Smiles in Alexandria, Virginia and then request a consultation today!

What is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is effective for whitening stained and discolored teeth and making smiles whiter and brighter. The process uses peroxide, which helps treat stains that form on the outside of the teeth from things like coffee, medication, and smoking.

At Old Town Smiles in Alexandria, Virginia, we offer ZOOM 2 technology for in-office teeth whitening, as well as take-home trays for patients to use in the comfort of their own homes. The ZOOM 2 technology uses a light activated whitening gel that enhances results when combined with an overhead LED light. For take-home treatments, the patient is provided with a customized mouthpiece and gel to administer the product on their own time.

Both treatments are highly effective. However, for the best possible results, we often recommend a combination of the two treatments.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Over time, our teeth begin to lose their brilliance. Discoloration can occur when the outer layer of the teeth, the enamel, becomes stained, typically as a result of everyday consumption but also as a general result of age. Some common food and drink items that cause discoloration include:

  • Coffee
  • Red and white wine
  • Soda
  • Tea
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus
  • Candy and sweets
  • Berries

Some other factors that can cause tooth discoloration include smoking and medication.

Why Choose Professional Teeth Whitening?

The benefits of teeth whitening go beyond just the appearance of the teeth. Although, a whiter and brighter smile is likely the largest draw of tooth whitening. Whiter teeth can change one’s entire appearance, taking years off their appearance. As a result, teeth whitening can also be a major confidence booster. It can encourage patients to smile, projecting self assurance.

Professional teeth whitening is also superior to over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments for many reasons.

  • More uniform results: Drugstore whitening strips may work well on one tooth, but not as well on the next, leaving patients with a mismatched grin. Our state-of-the-art techniques penetrate teeth where it counts, resulting in a consistently beautiful smile.
  • Increased strength: Over-the-counter whitening agents can only utilize a small amount of peroxide, the ingredient that works to whiten the teeth. This typically only works for patients with minimum staining or who only wish to go one to two shades lighter. For patients who desire more dramatic results, professional teeth whitening is the best option.
  • Personalized: The one-size-fits-all nature of over-the-counter teeth whitening often results in uneven whitening results. Since professional techniques are customized to fit the individual patient’s mouth, the whitening agent works where it should and won’t affect other areas of the mouth such as the gums. Plus, patients have the ability to pick the strength of their whitening agent, so they can go as many shades lighter as they’d like.
  • Immediate results: Not only are the results dramatic, but with our ZOOM 2 technology, patients walk out of the office a full ten shades lighter in less than an hour.
  • Long lasting: Professional teeth whitening lasts longer than drugstore brands and is often used in combination with take home whitening trays to extend the results for many years.
  • Protects gums: With our in-office treatment, Dr. Ahmed will place a protective cover over the gums to minimize gum sensitivity or gum discoloration. Our at-home trays are specifically designed to fit the patient’s individual mouth, so that the gel won’t affect the gums.
  • Safe: Teeth whitening by a trained professional dentist is the safest method available.

Professional Teeth Whitening Techniques We Offer

Our doctors will make a recommendation for each individual whether they are a candidate for in-office ZOOM whitening, customized take-home whitening trays, or both, at the time of the patient’s consultation.


ZOOM 2 is our in-office whitening system. Sometimes called power bleaching, this procedure is fast and efficient. It combines a gentle but potent whitening gel with a powerful laser light. In this way, ZOOM 2 can whiten teeth up to ten shades in less than an hour. Patients walk out of their appointment with immediately brilliant results.


Take-home trays are a convenient and efficient method of teeth whitening as well. With this procedure, impressions of the patient’s teeth are taken so that we can create a comfortable, custom-made thin flexible trays that fit them perfectly. The customized trays help maximize consistent whitening and reduce the possibility of gum sensitivity or discoloration. The patients are also provided with whitening gel to wear in the trays in the convenience of their own home.

While take-home trays are also extremely efficient and offer great, long-lasting results, they will take more time to implement than the in-office ZOOM 2 system. For this reason and more, our doctors frequently recommend combining both systems for maximum results. The trays are a great way to refresh and maintain the great results acquired from ZOOM 2.

Good Candidates

Good candidates for professional teeth whitening are patients over the age of 16 with healthy teeth and gums who wish to remove stains for a brighter, healthier looking smile. Although patients with minimal discoloration may see results from over-the-counter teeth whitening, those with more severe stains and patients who have not had their teeth whitened in over a year would benefit most from professional teeth whitening. In fact, we ask all patients come in for a consultation prior to undergoing any whitening treatment to determine the best treatment option for them.

Patients who may not be good candidates for professional teeth whitening include those posses one or more of the following:

  • Cracks or cavities: The gel can get inside these crevices and cause further damage.
  • Overly sensitive teeth: This can exacerbate the issue and cause further discomfort.
  • Gum disease
  • Fillings, crowns, or restorations: These will not whiten the same as the regular tooth enamel and can lead to a lack of color uniformity

Furthermore, patients should not undergo teeth whitening if they are allergic to peroxide or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In order to determine one’s candidacy for professional teeth whitening, please request a consultation with one of our doctors in Alexandria, Virginia.


In the majority of cases, our doctors recommend using a combination of take-home trays and ZOOM 2 in order to achieve the best results. During the patient’s first appointment, we make impressions of the patient’s mouth in order to make them a custom fitted at home whitening tray.

Patients are provided with the proper whitening gel, which they should use with their custom trays for one hour every day for a week. After one week, they will return to our offices for the ZOOM 2 treatment. This will leave most patients satisfied with a brilliantly white smile. However, for even more impressive results, they may continue to utilize the at-home whitening trays. Once they have achieved their desired brilliance, they can use the whitening trays once a month at home for upkeep.

After Treatment

Teeth whitening is a straightforward procedure that can either be performed in our offices in under an hour or in the comfort of the patient’s own home at their leisure. It is not necessary to take any time off of work following a teeth whitening treatment and patients are able to adhere to their regular schedule.

We always recommend that patients give us a call if they have any questions or concerns about their results.

After a teeth whitening treatment, some patients report some sensitivity in their teeth or gums. This is normal and typically resolves itself within a matter of days. During this time, it is best to avoid food or beverages that are excessively hot or cold. Any other minor pains after tooth whitening can be controlled with an over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin. In some cases, it may be helpful for the patient to use a desensitizing toothpaste for one to two weeks following the ZOOM 2 treatment.


In order to maintain the results of teeth whitening, patients should be sure to brush their teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. They should also try and avoid foods and beverages that cause discoloration, including coffee, wine, tomatoes, citrus, and candy. We also highly recommend that all patients quit smoking, not only for the benefit of their teeth but for the benefit of their overall health.

Regular follow-up appointments and checkups will also help prolong one’s results.

At future appointments, one of our doctors can prescribe more take-home trays for touch-ups following their treatment when necessary. By following these steps, patients can enjoy bright, healthy smiles for years to come.


During the patient’s personal consultation at our Virginia location, Dr. Ahmed will help determine whether or not professional teeth whitening is the optimal treatment method to help the patient reach his or her goals. The doctor will perform an examination to check for any cavities or cracks that could negatively impact the procedure. They will also get a full understanding of any previous work that the patient has had done on their mouth. Please let the doctor know about any other whitening treatments that have been performed.

At the time of the consultation, our doctors and staff will be happy to provide a cost estimate for the patient’s treatment. This will vary depending on the combination of techniques necessary to reach the patient’s goals.

In order to begin the path towards a brighter smile, contact Old Town Smiles in Alexandria, Virginia today and schedule a consultation.