The Top 4 Questions About Teeth Whitening

Young woman yellow and white teeth

Do you wish you had brighter teeth? Do you feel self-conscious about your smile because of the yellow or brown stains on your teeth? If so, you’re not alone. Teeth whitening is a popular  cosmetic procedure used  to remove stubborn stains and brighten your teeth. In this blog post, we will answer four of the most common questions about teeth whitening.

FAQ #1: What is teeth whitening and how is it performed?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that uses bleaching agents to remove stains from your teeth. A common technique is in-office bleaching, which is performed by a dental professional. During in-office bleaching, your dentist will apply a bleaching agent to your teeth and then use a special light or laser to activate the bleaching agent. The bleaching agent is usually kept in place for 30-60 minutes before being rinsed off the teeth. This type of teeth whitening is usually done in one or two visits to the dentist.

Prescription at-home bleaching kits are also available, but they are not as strong as in-office bleaching and may take longer to see results. With at-home bleaching, you will apply the bleaching agent to your teeth with a mouthguard or tray. You will need to wear the mouthguard or tray for a certain amount of time each day, depending on the strength of the bleaching agent.

Finally, there are also over the counter (OTC) whitening products that can be used to lighten the color of your teeth. These products include strips, pastes, trays, lights, mouthwashes, and toothpastes. While OTC products can be effective, these products are not as strong as professional teeth whitening and may take longer to see results. There is also a higher risk of complications since they are not applied by a dental professional.

Man with laser whitening machine

FAQ #2: What types of stains can teeth whitening remove?

When deciding whether or not to try teeth whitening, many people want to know exactly what types of stains teeth whitening treatments can remove. There are two main types of stains that can discolor the teeth: extrinsic stains and intrinsic stains.

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains are the most common type of stain and they occur on the surface of the teeth. These types of stains are usually caused by smoking, drinking coffee or tea, eating certain foods (like berries), or poor dental hygiene. Teeth whitening treatments can generally remove extrinsic stains effectively.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains occur when the inside of the tooth itself is stained. These types of stains are usually caused by certain medications (like tetracycline), exposure to too much fluoride during development, or trauma to the tooth. Intrinsic stains can be more difficult to remove than extrinsic stains, but teeth whitening treatments can still be effective in some cases. However, you will need to speak with your dentist to determine the type of stains your teeth have and whether or not teeth whitening procedures will be effective.

Teeth whitening treatments remove stains by breaking down the molecules that cause the teeth to appear discolored. Most whitening treatments contain hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. The bleaching agents are absorbed by the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth, where they break down discolored molecules. This allows the teeth to return to their natural color. However, it is important to note that teeth whitening is not effective on dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, or veneers.

Graphic of 3 teeth with gradual yellow coloring

FAQ #3: Is teeth whitening safe?

Teeth whitening is generally considered to be a safe procedure. This is because the bleaching agents are made from hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, both of which break down into water once they have dissolved discolored molecules. This means the bleaching agent can be safely absorbed by the body.

Some people may believe that teeth whitening can damage the tooth enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. However, studies have shown that teeth whitening is not harmful to the tooth enamel. While tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening, it is usually temporary and will go away 1-2 days after the treatment is finished. If you experience tooth sensitivity after teeth whitening, try using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth or taking over the counter pain medication.

It is important to follow the instructions provided by your dentist or the manufacturer of the at-home or OTC bleaching kit. If you use too much bleaching agent or leave it on your teeth for too long, you may experience tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, or burns.

FAQ #4: How long do the results from teeth whitening last?

The final question that people have when deciding whether to try teeth whitening is how long the results are expected to last. The results from teeth whitening can last for several months to a year, depending on your lifestyle and how well you take care of your teeth. In some cases, results can even last up to three years.

The reason why there is such a large discrepancy in how long the results last is because it is dependent on an individual’s lifestyle and oral hygiene habits. For example, if you smoke or drink coffee or tea regularly, the stains on your teeth will likely come back sooner than if you do not smoke or drink coffee or tea.

To help prolong the results of your teeth whitening, your dentist may recommend that you use a whitening toothpaste or mouthwash. They may prescribe at-home whitening kits to use every so often as a way of touching up your results. Additionally, practicing good oral hygiene and getting regular teeth cleanings can help to prolong your results.

In Conclusion

In this blog, we have answered some of the most common questions about teeth whitening such as: how teeth whitening is performed, what types of stains it removes, is it safe, and how long its results last. We hope that this has helped to clear up any confusion and that you feel more confident about trying teeth whitening. As always, be sure to consult with your dentist before starting any new dental treatment. Only your dentist will be able to help you determine if teeth whitening is right for you and your smile.

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