Smile Makeovers

Whitening FAQs

How can I make my teeth whiter?

First, regular cleaning visits to your dentist help remove plaque build up and staining from your teeth. Avoiding substances that stain teeth can stop further discoloration. These substances include cigarettes, coffee, wine and dark tea. You can also maintain whiter teeth by asking your dentist about the available whitening options at their practice. These whitening systems are stronger than what is offered over the counter, and will make your teeth noticeably whiter to friends and family.

How do whitening toothpastes work? Are they effective?

Whitening toothpaste can appear to whiten teeth slightly by removing surface stains, such as those caused by drinking coffee or smoking. However, whitening toothpastes can not change the natural color of your teeth or lighten a stain that goes deeper than a tooth's surface.

Does insurance cover teeth whitening?

No. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, which is not covered by insurance.

How long do the effects of teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening is not a permanent procedure. People who consistently expose their teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining may see a change in tooth color, but this can be prevented by using at home whitening trays. People who avoid foods and beverages that cause staining may be able to wait longer before another whitening  touch-up is needed.

Does teeth whitening damage enamel or existing dental restorations?

Studies of teeth whitening products using 10% carbamide peroxide showed no effects on the hardness or mineral content of teeth enamel surface or existing fillings.

However, please keep in mind that existing restorations such as tooth-colored fillings, crowns, bonding, veneers, and bridges will NOT lighten with any whitening treatments. Pre-existing dental work may need to be replaced to match the new tooth shade achieved in the natural teeth.Your dentist will make you aware of this prior to the whitening procedure, and give you options.

Will my teeth be sensitive after having them whitened?

Tooth sensitivity varies patient to patient. With our current whitening systems such as Opalescence or Zoom, there is potassium nitrate in the gel which prevents tooth sensitivity.

What food can I eat after treatment, and what foods should I avoid?

The immediate days after teeth whitening are critical for the teeth whitening process. The tooth’s pores remain open the next few days after teeth whitening which is why your teeth continue to whiten. It is important to avoid foods or drinks with high amounts of artificial coloring, such as ketchup, mustard, coffee, tea, and red wine. For coffee drinkers, if you must have caffeine, try an energy drink, or drink coffee through a straw. Smokers should not smoke during the next few days to get the best results.

How often do I need to whiten my teeth?

Once in-house teeth whitening is complete, a patient can whiten their teeth at home until they achieve a shade that they are pleased with. However, this is not necessary if you are happy with the shade achieved by your dentist. Whitening at home can easily be done with bleaching trays or at home whitening gels. After the desired shade is reached, a patient needs a touch up every three to four months.