Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Whitening

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I get many patients interested in professional whitening. Of course, most people want a whiter and brighter smile. Unfortunately, not all patients are ideal candidates for it. So what type patients are eligible?

Ideal candidates have healthy teeth. If you have cavities or periodontal (gum) disease, whitening can cause severe sensitivity and further damage your teeth. It is important to get your teeth and your gums healthy before any type of whitening is done.

Ideal candidates are non-smokers. Smoking can stain the teeth not just superficially but also penetrate deep within. The results of whitening will not last nearly as long or be as effective. If you are quitting, then whitening is a great way to get rid of the stains! Patients who consume large amounts of coffee, tea, red wine, or juices tend to have heavier staining from the pigmentation of the liquids. Professional whitening is a great way to reduce the stain but it is important to try to cut back on these liquids for the whitening to last longer.

For patients who have sensitive teeth, there are various options. The strength and application time can be altered to address each individual’s needs. A higher concentration works more quickly and has stronger results, but it may also cause greater tooth sensitivity for a few days following treatment.

In order to keep the wonderful results of professional whitening, it is important to use your take home kit for maintenance. If you are a non-compliant patient or do not think you can stick with routine and maintain your whitening over time, then it would be a waste of time and money to do the professional whitening. There are over the counter options such as whitening strips, whitening toothpastes and mouth washes, better electronic toothbrushes that are safe to use. The outcome of over-the-counter products of course is not nearly as profound as professional whitening systems due to the low concentration of the whitening agents but are a better option for patients who do not want to commit. There are many over-the-counter products that can be used to help maintain your white smile after you have professional whitening done also. Remember to ask us when you come in for your next appointment!