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Teeth whitening is becoming increasingly popular. Many people want to achieve the perfect ‘Hollywood White’ smile. It is often a treatment that they may book specifically for. This is wonderful when this happens as it takes away the need for a sales pitch but that generally isn’t the case.

So how do we promote the idea of Teeth Whitening?

It may not be a good idea to tell a patient they need teeth whitening. No one necessarily needs tooth whitening and suggesting this may not go down particularly well with your client. So it really is a difficult conversation to physically start with someone even if you think they would really benefit from the process.

Starting the conversation with patients in the chair shouldn’t feel like you are trying to make a sale. It may be a treatment they were already considering, after all – teeth whitening procedures are growing in popularity year on year.

Maybe they just didn’t get around to asking at the time of the appointment. Or maybe they aren’t aware it is only allowed to be carried out by a dental professional. I have also had conversations with patients that suggested it was a beauty treatment done at the spa or beauticians.

Here are 5 ways to start the conversation:

  • Take the shade of their teeth at every exam. Say it out loud to your dental assistant as they write your notes. Maybe even say, “eligible for teeth whitening “(if they are of course), and currently shade (insert shade here)”. This may jog your patients mind to ask you about this treatment, which could lead to them moving forward with their tooth whitening.


  • Mention teeth whitening as part of the process. Especially important if they need any restorative work or dental prosthesis. I have seen patients who come to me for tooth whitening after they have had work done to match their current tooth shade. At this point there may be limitations. Having it done before this and then having top ups to keep the desired shade is preferable. In these situations, talk about it as part of an overall treatment plan.


  • Advertise your offers in your waiting room. This will help induce the conversation when they come through to the surgery. A good example is waiting room TV, such as that provided by Envisage Dental TV. Having well placed tooth whitening information in a place that they can enquire about immediately after is a simple yet effective tool. Utilise your impressive ‘before and after photos’ which you can upload and use alongside Envisage Dental TVs educational and promotional videos which is proven to prompt the patient to start the conversation with you.


  • Work together as a team. As a hygienist, tooth whitening is something patients ask me about a lot. Stain removal is a great by-product of successful biofilm removal and the boost patients get from seeing these results gets them wanting even more. Nothing beats the feeling of increased confidence and once the patient gets a taste of this, they want to continue that momentum. As it is a conversation I have a lot, I work closely with my dentist colleagues to be able to provide this service for my patients too. Maybe when you discuss what the hygienist does as you refer, add in they also do tooth whitening.


  • Use social media to get them engaged. I put whitening case studies on my social media with patient permission and as a result I have lots of patients booking in, or asking questions based on what they have seen and so I very rarely have to start the conversation directly. Envisage Dental TV has a social media category – allowing you to use their educational videos to help boost awareness through your social media.

This article was written by Claire Berry a multi -award winning hygienist and author. Claire trained as a dental hygienist whilst serving in the Army, qualifying in 2009. Currently works in 3 practices, as well as being a key opinion leader for brands such as Oral B, Boutique and an ambassador for the BSDHT. With articles published in BDJ In Practice, The Probe, Smile magazine, DH Contact, Young Dentist magazine, as well as numerous FMC publications including a monthly hygienist blog and is on the board for Clinical Dentistry Magazine and Dental Nurse magazine