FAQs on Teeth Whitenings

  • How do you know if you are suited for tooth whitening?
  • Is tooth whitening safe?
  • Are there any tooth whitening risks?
  • How white can tooth whitening treatment go?
  • How long does the tooth whitening results lasts?
  • What is the difference between tooth bleaching and tooth whitening?
  • What is the difference between hydrogen peroxide vs. carbamide peroxide?

How do you know if you are suited for tooth whitening?
There may be certain contra-indications for tooth-whitening. You may want to start by speaking with your tooth-whitening dentist. He or she can tell you whether tooth-whitening procedures would be effective or recommended for you.

Tooth whiteners may not correct all types of tooth discoloration. In general, yellowish hued teeth will probably teeth bleach well, while brownish hued teeth may teeth bleach less well, and grayis hued teeth may not teeth bleach well at all.

Below are some factors of considerations prior to determining tooth-whitening treatment, dentist tooth-whitening or home tooth bleaching is to be done:

  1. No amount of teeth whitening will yield “unnaturally” white teeth.
  2. Teeth whitening only works on natural teeth and not on prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, veneers, fillings, inlays/onlays and bonding. Thus to avoid technicolor effect, tooth-colored restorations will likely need replacement after teeth-whitening
  3. Recessed gums often reveal their yellowish root surfaces at the gum line that is proven difficult to teeth whiten.
  4. Pregnant or nursing women are advised to avoid teeth whitening for precautionary reasons. There are however no known or researched impacts/effects of tooth whitening on fetus or baby
  5. Teeth with certain stains from trauma and tetracycline staining do not respond well to teeth whitening
  6.  Tooth and gum hypersensitivity. To avoid a hypersensitive reaction, your dentist is likely to recommend take-home tooth bleaching trays with a low concentration of carbamide peroxide that is normally not as potent as hydrogen peroxide.
  7. Deep and intractable staining. Some stains are resistant to high-concentration in-office bleaching.. In such cases, dentists may recommend a supervised regimen of intensive take-home tooth bleaching or alternatives to peroxide bleaching such as bonding, crowns or porcelain veneers.
  8. Teeth that have become transparent with age, particularly true of the front teeth, which are thin to begin with may not be suited for tooth whitening.
  9. If you are taking photoreactive medication, undergoing photochemotherapy, patients with melanoma, or are light sensitive, please do kindly consult your physician prior to the procedure as well as highlighting this to your tooth whitening dentist on any contra-indications for having in-office tooth whitening treatment done.

Is tooth whitening safe?
Extensive research and clinical studies indicate that dentist tooth whitening teeth under the supervision of a tooth whitening dentist is safe. In fact, many dentists consider whitening one of the safest cosmetic dental procedure available.

Tooth whitening is however not recommended for children under 13 years of age and pregnant or lactating women. There are also certain factors of considerations a tooth whitening dentist will look at prior to determining if in-office tooth whitening is suited for each individual case.

Tooth whitening is a well established procedure in cosmetic dentistry. Hydrogen Peroxide H2O2, the active tooth whitening agent used in tooth whitening treatmnets has been safely used for many years in the treatment of gums and other oral soft tissue.

Are there any teeth whitening risks?
Teeth-whitening treatments are considered to be safe when procedures are followed as directed. However, there are certain risks associated with bleaching that you should be aware of:

Sensitivity: Tooth bleaching can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch. This may occur for in-office dentist whitening, where higher-concentration of whitening agent is used. Some individuals experience spontaneous shooting pains (“zingers”) down the middle of their front teeth.

Individuals at greatest risk for whitening sensitivity are those with gum recession, significant cracks in their teeth or leakage resulting from faulty restorations.

Whitening sensitivity lasts no longer than a day or two, but in some cases may persist up to a month. Some tooth whitening dentists recommends using toothpaste containing potassium nitrate for sensitive teeth.

Gum irritation: There is a possibility for those indidviduals using use peroxide whiteners to experience some degree of gum irritation resulting from the bleach concentration or from contact with the whitening trays. Such irritation typically lasts up to several days, dissipating after teeth bleaching has stopped or the peroxide concentration lowered.

Technicolor teeth: Restorations such as bonding, dental crowns or porcelain veneers are not affected by teeth whitening and therefore maintain their default color while the surrounding teeth are whitened. If there are a large number of prosthetics done, individuals may like to consider having the prosthetics replaced as well post tooth whitening.

How white can tooth whitening treatment go?
Teeth whitening results are subjective, varying considerably from person to person depending on the structure of the teeth. Many are immediately delighted with their outcome, while others may be disappointed. Before you embark on any tooth whitening treatment, ask your dentist for a realistic idea of the results you are likely to achieve and how long it should take to achieve them. Expectations play a major role in teeth whitening. The teeth whitening process is effective on most discolored teeth. Darker stains, such as those caused by antibiotics and grayer tones teeth, are more difficult to whiten.

How long does the tooth whitening results lasts?
Teeth will be lighter than they were before. How long the tooth whitening results last will be dependent on personal habits and oral hygiene. To keep your teeth looking their best, it is recommended that flossing, brushing twice daily and following the given post whitening care instructions.

What is the difference between tooth bleaching and tooth whitening?
According to the FDA, the term “bleaching” is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies to products that contain bleach or hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

The term “whitening,” on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth’s surface color by removing dirt and debris. So any product that cleans (such as toothpastes) are considered a teeth whitener. Of course, the term tooth whitening sounds better than tooth bleaching, and is thus more frequently used.

What is the difference between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide?
The bleach preference for in-office dentist whitening is the fast-acting and powerful hydrogen peroxide. When used in professional teeth whitening, hydrogen peroxide concentrations range from approximately nine percent to 40 percent.

The bleach of preference for at-home teeth whitening is slower acting carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. This means that a 15 percent solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a five percent solution of hydrogen peroxide.