Teeth Whitening Frequently Asked Questions

Questions to Ask About Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular procedures asked of cosmetic dentists today.  However, before considering this procedure for yourself, it would be a good idea to prepare for your consultation with the dentist by having a list of questions to ask and have answered.

Q. What method of teeth whitening is my best option?

A.  The method that gets the best result with the greatest whitening in the least amount of time is one that is done by the dental specialist directly.

However if money is an issue, or time is not a factor, there are many options available to you for home use.  After a thorough dental examination, a consult with your dentist can offer the option that appeals to you the most.  Custom made whitening trays with a high percentage of carbamide peroxide works well at home if the teeth are not severely stained.

Q. How long do the teeth whitening last?

A. When performed by a professional or under dental supervision, whitening may last up to 5-7 years.  However if smoking or consumption of deeply pigmented foods and beverages are used frequently, this will be considerably shortened.  Touch-ups can prolong the treatment life.

Q. How many times can I bleach my teeth?  Is there a limit?

A. Over use of bleaching agents can cause damage to the enamel of teeth with erosions, which will then start making them vulnerable to staining by pigmented foods and decay.  Once the white shade is obtained, and the recommended protocol is finished, do not repeat without consulting a dentist.

Q. Are tooth whitening products safe?

A.  When the products are used as directed, typically the whitening agents are safe.  However if the bleaches are used excessively or too frequently, problems can arise. To avoid problems, it is prudent to have the whitening agents used either by dentists or under their supervision.

Q. What causes tooth staining and discoloration?

A. Dental discoloration may be hereditary or due to medications your mum took that when she was pregnant.  Certain antibiotics are also associated with dental discoloration.

Smoking and consumption of deeply pigmented foods and beverages containing tannins and chromogens such as  wines, coffee, tea and berries cause staining of teeth over time.

Q. What is the difference between carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide?

A. Carbamide peroxide is a weaker formula of hydrogen peroxide and is generally the form that is used in home kits because it is more stable and has a longer shelf life. Carbamide peroxide does not work as rapidly as hydrogen peroxide, nor is it as strong.

Q. Can I whiten veneers, crowns or bonding?

A. Generally, only natural teeth can be whitened.  However, deep whitening techniques may lighten veneers that have been worn over time.

Q. Are there natural ways to whiten my teeth?

A. The best way is to avoid foods and beverages that are deeply pigmented.  Eating foods with fiber like carrots, pears, apples and celery help scrape the teeth surface ridding them of debris and particulate matter.

By asking these questions, there will be no confusion and you will understand everything about the whitening procedure so that you can make a more informed decision.