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Teeth Whitening: The Basics

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  • Teeth Whitening
  • Treatments
  • Post-Treatment

What is a periodontist?

A periodontist is a dentist who takes care of all the surrounding tooth structures, such as the gums, the bone, the sinuses. A periodontist specializes in periodontal disease, dental implants, oral inflammation, and cosmetic tooth repair including teeth whitening.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of teeth whitening?

Whitening your teeth is a safe procedure that can help improve your confidence and improve your appearance. As opposed to other whitening products and solutions, a teeth whitening procedure performed in a dental office can protect your gums. Some potential drawbacks are that you may experience some sensitivity (depending on the system used in the dental office) and that the costs are not covered by insurance.

Does insurance cover teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening procedures are not covered by your insurance because they are viewed as cosmetic procedures. Usually teeth whitenings can cost anywhere from $200 to $600, depending on the treatment you are getting.

Can all teeth be whitened?

All natural teeth can be whitened. However, if you already have some existing bonding, veneers or crowns, those do not bleach properly and this may result in mismatched colors in your teeth.

Do you only need to get your teeth whitened once?

It depends. Some people get treatments done every week and some get it done once a year  depending on the level of staining. Some teeth have enamel that is more porous that picks up stains faster, so without proper maintenance those teeth would require more frequent whitening. It depends on the teeth, diet, and maintenance.

What are the treatment options for teeth whitening?

The most effective and safest method of teeth whitening is done in the dental office by a dentist and can be done as a 20-minute laser-based procedure. There are also over-the-counter methods like whitening strips, baking soda, toothpastes, gels, pens, and other devices. 

Are there any home remedies for teeth whitening?

Some alternatives to a teeth whitening procedure in the dentist’s office include putting baking soda on your toothpaste a few times a week and finding over the counter products.

Does a tooth whitening procedure hurt?

Research shows that tooth whitening is safe and doesn’t hurt the enamel, although it can cause some sensitivity. This is usually transient. Modern teeth whitening procedures are not painful. However, some of the older processes that some dentists use can actually cause sensitivity even while you’re in the dental chair.

How white can my teeth get?

The outcome of a teeth whitening procedure really depends on the person’s enamel and dentin color. So really, whatever they’re born with is what they’ll end up with. The tooth cannot become lighter than the intrinsic color of the tooth.

How do I maintain my teeth after whitening?

To maintain your teeth whitening results, it is important that you follow up with maintenance treatments. Two products are necessary for maintenance. One product is the customizable trays, which are made just for you. The second is a bleaching pen (which is really just like a lip gloss) with a little brush at the end, which you can paint over your teeth on a weekly basis. A good analogy for keeping or maintaining results would be that it is like going to the car wash. If you’ve gone to the car wash, you can get some dust in your car immediately thereafter and can easily take a rag at home wipe the dust clean from the car. It is the same thing with your teeth after teeth whitening.

What is a white diet?

To maintain teeth whitening results, it is important to maintain a white diet, especially in the first 72 hours following teeth whitening, as the enamel is porous during that time and it can actually pick up more stains. In a white diet, things to avoid are red wine, colas, coffee, tea, even dark-stained fruits such as tomatoes, plums, cherries, blueberries. These substances can actually also stain teeth.

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