White Teeth

Teeth Whitening: 5 Common Questions

Many people aren’t happy with the color of their teeth. We are often very critical of our own smiles and some feel that they would be more confident if only they had a brighter, whiter smile. Believe it or not, it can be as simple as one hour in the dental office to get teeth whitened and for a person to achieve that boost of confidence to feel better overall. Patients often ask many questions in regards to teeth whitening and listed below are responses to some of the most frequently asked questions.


How do I know if I am a good candidate for whitening my teeth?

In order to determine whether or not a patient is a good candidate, a comprehensive dental examination needs to be completed by a dentist. The dentist will then be able to determine the reason why the teeth are discolored and will then go over the possible whitening options with the patient. The dentist will take into consideration whether the patient wants to do in-office or at-home whitening, based on the patient’s lifestyle and budget.


Will my teeth be sensitive after I whiten my teeth?

It is typically recommended to use a sensitivity reducing toothpaste for 1-2 weeks prior to starting the whitening process as well as during the process, if it’s being done at home. Tooth sensitivity will also be reduced by decreasing the frequency and duration of whitening.


How much whiter will my teeth be after I whiten them?

It is common to see the teeth become 3-5 shades lighter with in-office whitening. At-home whitening that is used in custom trays, made by the dentist, will lighten the teeth at a more gradual rate depending on how frequently the whitening material is applied.


How long will my teeth stay at the shade I want them to be?

This will vary from person to person and will not last permanently. If a person avoids foods and drinks that stain the teeth quicker (tea, coffee, red wine) and avoids smoking, the whiter smile will last longer. It is always possible to do a touch-up whitening treatment as needed.


Will whitening affect any of my existing crowns, veneers or fillings?

At your comprehensive dental examination your dentist will inform you of any existing dental restorations and whether or not they would need to be replaced following whitening in order to match the newly whitened teeth. Any existing dental restorations will not change in color with any whitening treatment.

By Dena Riechmann, DDS