Teeth Whitening FAQ

Teeth Whitening FAQ

Why do I need my teeth whitened?
Years of use can cause unsightly stains to appear on your teeth. Teeth whitening is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your appearance. See the Why Whiter Teeth page for more great reasons to get your teeth whitened.

How does teeth whitening work?
The active ingredient in most tooth whitening products is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The peroxide enters the tooth and safely removes stains by bleaching the enamel and dentin.

What are my choices for getting my teeth whiter?
Teeth whitening can be performed by a dentist’s office or at home. A dentist visit will usually produce quicker results but can be more expensive than at-home methods. A variety of products are also available for at home use. These include: whitening toothpastes, whitening strips, brush-on gels, and mouth tray kits. More information is available on the Teeth Whitening Basics page.

Is teeth whitening safe?
Absolutely! Decades of research have proven bleaching and other tooth whitening methods to be both safe and effective. Tooth whitening is considered by many dentists as the safest cosmetic dental procedure.

Are there any side effects?
The most common side effects from tooth whitening are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. These symptoms are temporary and should disappear after the whitening treatment. More information on the side effects of teeth whitening is available on the Teeth Whitening Risks page.

What causes tooth discoloration and/or yellow teeth?
There are many causes of tooth discoloration. Some of the most common include aging and heavily pigmented food and drink. More serious causes are trauma, nerve problems, old fillings, and excessive fluoride or tetracycline consumption.

How much does teeth whitening cost?
The cost of teeth whitening varies from less than $20 for over-the-counter products all the way up to thousands of dollars for a professional dental bleaching.

Does teeth whitening work for everyone?
Everyone should notice at least some improvement from teeth whitening. Of course everyone’s teeth are different, so results will vary from person to person.

How long does the whitening last?
Once again, this depends on the person. Generally, though, a whitening will last for 6 months to a year. Touch ups are recommended every 4-6 months.

What can I do to make the effects of tooth whitening last longer?
Avoid food and drink that stain teeth, and for goodness sakes don’t smoke. Brushing properly and regularly visiting your dentist will also prolong the effects of teeth whitening. See the Keeping Teeth White page for more information.

Will teeth whitening work on my Composite Fillings, Crowns, or Veneers?
Nope. Teeth whitening will not work on crowns, veneers or composite fillings. In fact, you may end up with different colored teeth unless you replace the crown or veneer.

Will my insurance cover teeth whitening?
Unfortunately no. Teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic dental procedure, insurance will not cover the cost.