Setting Up a Successful Whitening Program in Your Practice

Date: September 2020

Author: Jessica Raymond-Allbritten CRDH BASDH

It is important to have an understanding of the whitening system that you, the dental hygienist, will want to integrate into your office as well as a plan of action before approaching your dentist with the idea. Incorporating a new whitening system into your office will take a whole team approach, once a plan of action is developed between the hygienist and the dentist, in order for the program to be successful. Selecting a whitening product that will benefit the patient and the office is ideal. Colgate Optic White Professional is a great product that benefits all parties involved.

Colgate Optic White Professional Whitening System

Colgate Optic White Professional is a great whitening system to incorporate into your office for several reasons. The system uses a small, portable, reusable whitening device with a comfortable silicone mouthpiece. The device uses ionic technology to activate the whitening gel without the use of heat or light, and is designed for no tooth sensitivity. This technology provides fast whitening results and there is no need to take impressions. The system offers both an in-office and take-home version. Studies have shown that patients will experience 7 shades of whitening improvement, and in a clinical study 27% of patients experienced 9 shades of whitening improvement.

Talking to your dentist

When the Colgate Optic White Professional Whitening System was launched, I knew that I had to talk to my dentist about integrating it into the practice. There are many great benefits to the system that would fit our practice model and benefit the patient. I explained the benefits for the patients and the office, studies, price points, marketing ideas, and possible staff incentives with my dentist. One of the great benefits of the take-home version to the practice is that it eliminates the cost of material, chair time, and staff time due to not needing to take impressions. The take-home product can be given to the patient at any time; even if they were just stopping by the office without an appointment after deciding they did want to whiten their teeth following a prior discussion during their last visit. The in-office product benefits the office by the system not requiring any additional equipment. One of the main highlights is that the patients can use the same device before and after major restorative or periodontal procedures due to the flexible silicone mouthpiece.

Motivating the team

Motivating the team to discuss whitening with patients can be difficult due to short appointment times, lack of rapport with patients, and/or a lack of understanding about the product. It is important to start by making sure the team has the knowledge and the tools to be successful. One of the things that my office did was to have our local Oral Care Consultant come into the office to give a lunch and learn and demo the Colgate Optic White Professional Whitening System.

My office also requires each team member to take a Vita Shade on each patient at each appointment and show the patient their current shade on the shade guide. Usually, I will hand them the Vita Shade guide while I document their shade in their chart. The key to this is for the patient to ask you about whitening. After you show the patient their shade, it is important to not say anything and give the patient a chance to ask questions about their shade. Many patients will voluntarily provide you with a personal motivating factor that will get them to say yes to whitening their teeth. Having initial rapport with the patient may also help the team member engage with the patient further.

In my office, my dentist also provides a whitening incentive bonus system. This helps the team work together to talk about whitening with patients and come up with new marketing ideas that involve patient referrals, social media, and in-office marketing of the Colgate Optic White Professional System. With this team approach, the office can grow as a whole just through whitening alone. Many patients will google “cosmetic dentists near me” or “teeth whitening near me.” It is important to have the correct key terms on your website and on social media to help new patients find your office through the world of whitening.


The dental hygienist can take a lead role in their office whitening program and become empowered to take the lead on other future office projects. It takes one conversation between the dental hygienist and the dentist to help the office grow patient referrals, new patients, and offer more to their patients who are looking for cosmetics. It takes a whole team approach for any new program to be successful.

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