Common Questions About Teeth Whitening

How Long Does Whitening Last?

Worried about turning back into a pumpkin after your transformation? Whitening toothpastes, to the small degree that they are effective, lose their effect when you stop brushing with them. OTC products can produce results that last several months, while in-office procedures can whiten your teeth for years. Results vary quite a bit, depending on factors such as your current tooth color, whether you smoke, if you regularly drink staining beverages like coffee, and how well you take care of your teeth.

What About Side Effects?

The only potential side effect of the whitening process is sensitivity of the gums and tissues. In-office procedures (during which we coat your gums) and custom-fitted mouth trays for at-home systems can help avoid this possibility. In most cases, sensitivity is temporary and disappears soon after treatment is complete. If you already have sensitive teeth or gums, talk to us at Southcenter Dental before you consider any type of whitening treatment; this may not be the best course of action for you.

Important Considerations

When deciding how to improve the appearance of your teeth, it's important to note the circumstances in which whitening may not be appropriate:

--If your teeth or gums are not in ideal health, whitening should wait. If, for instance, a cavity is forming, or your gums have begun to recede, whitening could be a painful experience for you. Once we have resolved any problems, then you can proceed with whitening.

--If your front teeth (those visible when you smile) have crowns or fillings, whitening may not be the best solution for you, because the restoration materials will not change color with your teeth, and will stand out against the lighter shade. In this case, you may be a candidate for veneers or bonding. Alternatively, you may want to have your restorations replaced in a lighter shade before you whiten – in which case it's important to keep your teeth white, lest you lose the match.

--If your teeth are severely stained, or if the staining is medication-related or congenital (present since birth), whitening will likely not do the trick. Veneers or bonding may be the best choice for you.

Before you make any decision about whitening, your teeth and gums should be in optimal health. At Southcenter Dental, we make sure you're in prime condition before you proceed with any type of treatment, be it over-the-counter or in-office. Give us a call to set up an appointment today.

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