Frequently Asked Questions About Tooth Whitening
If your teeth are stained, discolored or yellowed, you may be considering teeth whitening as an option for removing these stains. If so, it’s natural to have questions about the benefits of professional teeth whitening versus over-the-counter options, what to expect from this popular cosmetic dentistry procedure, and how long the results will last. Below, our dentist in Solana Beach answers six of the most frequently asked questions about cosmetic dentistry and teeth whitening.
Professional teeth whitening is the safest, fastest and most effective way to whiten your teeth and remove tough stains caused by smoking, red wine, and coffee. Over-the-counter whitening agents lack the bleaching power necessary to remove these stains. Most over-the-counter options can take several weeks to truly whiten the teeth; in-office whiten can lighten teeth by several shades in less than one hour. Teeth can be whitened up to 10 shades in just an hour!
Some sensitivity is normal following professional teeth whitening. However, this sensitivity should fade within a few days. Additionally, professional teeth whitening systems typically feature a buffer within the gel that protects the tooth enamel from damage. Thanks to advances in cosmetic dentistry, even patients with sensitive teeth can safely have their teeth whitened.
Unlike over-the-counter whitening options that are typically one-size-fits-all, professional whitening is customized to the size and shape of your mouth. This means the bleaching agents will not overlap the gum line, which is common source for tooth pain in over-the-counter whitening. Our dentist’s professional whitening treatment is customized to each patient’s specific needs.
Professional teeth whitening from our dentist is a straightforward, hassle-free procedure that whitens teeth and dramatically boosts confidence. Most in-office treatment sessions can be completed in just over an hour. During an in-office whitening treatment, our dentist will first apply a concentrated peroxide-based gel directly to your teeth. This gel is then activated with heat or light. Teeth are up to 10 shades lighter following treatment. Professional teeth whitening does not cause permanent damage to the enamel or any other tooth structure.
Professional whitening results typically last between one and two years, although some studies report that whitening may last for up to 10 years, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Avoiding coffee, tea, red wine and smoking – all of which cause staining – will extend the length of your whitening results.
Tooth whitening will not change the appearance of porcelain veneers or crowns, although some bleaching agents can temporarily diminish the bonding strength between enamel and composite restorations. If you have crowns, veneers or fillings, talk to our San Diego dentist to learn more about the safest whitening options.