6 Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening

As you grow older, your teeth slowly become discolored from age, smoking, medicines, and many other factors. Although these stains dont harm your teeth, they can be embarrassing, and many people feel self-conscious about them. Tooth whitening can be very effective at removing stains and restoring your pearly white smile. Heres what you need to know about this procedure.

How Does It Work?

To whiten your teeth, a bleaching gel is applied directly to your teeth. The gel is usually placed into trays that resemble mouth guards to keep it in place while it works. The trays are typically worn for approximately 15 minute intervals. Your Lexington dentist may use a special laser light to activate the gel and speed up the whitening process.

As the gel sits, it removes stains from the surface of your teeth. It can also frequently remove deeper stains set into your enamel. Tooth whitening products such as toothpastes, on the other hand, usually contain abrasive materials that only scrape away stains from the outside of your teeth.

How Long Does It Take?

If you visit the dentist, you can see significant whitening in just one visit, lasting about an hour. Or your dentist may provide you with a tooth whitening kit that you can use at home. These kits are not as strong as the gels used in the dentists office, but you can usually see results in 1-2 weeks.

You can also buy over-the-counter whitening kits at a local pharmacy or grocery store. However, these use an even weaker gel and will not whiten your teeth as quickly or effectively as professional whitening. They can be successful at removing some surface stains.

Is It Safe?

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As long as you follow the directions in your tooth whitening kit, the whitening process is a very safe procedure. You may experience temporary side effects like sensitive teeth or gums, but these should go away within a few days.

It has not yet been determined if tooth whitening is safe for pregnant or nursing mothers, so its safest to avoid it in these cases. Tooth whitening is also not recommended for young children, but this usually isnt an issue. Most children have very white teeth. Its only as they grow older that stains develop.

Does It Affect Other Cosmetic Procedures?

If youve had fillings, crowns, or other cosmetic dentistry procedures, you can usually still have your teeth whitened. You should always ask your dentist before starting any tooth whitening procedure, but in most cases, it should have no effect on other cosmetic work. Keep in mind that you wont be able to whiten your crowns or veneers, so your teeth may end up being different shades of white.

Can Any Teeth Be Whitened?

Some teeth are naturally harder to whiten than others. Most teeth can be whitened at least a few shades, but you may not always be able to attain the pristine white youve been wanting. In addition, some stains are deep set and extremely difficult to remove. Sometimes you can reduce these tough stains by visiting your dentist for follow-up treatments. In other cases, you may want to consider other methods of concealing your stains, such as dental veneers.

How Long Do the Results Last?

With teeth whitening, everyones results are different. Most people can expect the results to last about 6 months. At that point, you can return to your Lexington dentist for another whitening treatment. To extend your results, practice good dental hygiene and brush your teeth regularly to remove stains. If you brush your teeth immediately after eating, stains wont have time to set. Avoid red wine, coffee, smoking, and other habits that cause tooth staining. By doing this, your results may last as long as 1-2 years.

By: Jordan Rocksmith

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