Teeth whitening is a fantastic process that can dramatically improve the look of your smile. If you have never gone through dental bleaching though, you may have some questions about how the process works and what you can expect during it. In the information below, we will answer some frequently asked questions about teeth whitening so you can have a better understanding of what you may be going through.
Does Teeth Whitening Hurt?
For the most part, teeth whitening is a painless process. If you opt for laser whitening at your dentist’s office, you may experience some pain during the last part of the treatment and later that night. The bleach used for that procedure is much more potent than what you use at home. Many patients report feeling “zingers,” or brief singes of pain in their mouth after laser whitening. For at-home whitening, the only discomfort you may feel is if the bleach comes in contact with your gums. If you follow your take-home instructions though, you should not have to worry about that.
Is Teeth Whitening Permanent?
No, teeth whitening is not a permanent process. Over time, your teeth will naturally stain and discolor just like they did before. How long the whitening lasts will depend on your personal habits and your oral health as a whole. For instance, some people have thinner enamel than others, allowing the yellow dentin in their teeth to shine through more prominently than normal. Those people may experience discoloring faster than patients who have thick enamel walls.
Luckily, you can always get more bleach for your at-home whitening trays, so you can keep up with your bright white smile as long as you want to.
Can I Get My Teeth Whitened With A Cavity?
Some patients experience irritation from dental bleaching when they have cavities, cracks, or other issues with their teeth. During your dental exam, we will look over your teeth thoroughly to determine if you will experience pain from the procedure. Since the bleaching happens on the outer surface of the teeth, most patients are able to complete the whitening without any issues. Nevertheless, it’s always best to get a cleaning and a dental checkup before going through with a bleaching process.
Is At-Home Bleaching As Effective As Professional Teeth Whitening?
The term “at-home bleaching” covers a fairly wide range of teeth whitening procedures. There are plenty of kits and strips you can buy over the counter, but then there are at-home kits you can get directly from your dentist. Think of this like buying pain medication from the drug store compared to getting prescription pain medication from your doctor. The prescription medication will be stronger, and its effects will last longer.
The same can be said for teeth whitening. You will get better results faster from the at-home kits you can get from your dentist, and those can be just as effective as laser whitening treatments over time. It may take you a little bit longer to achieve your ideal brightness at home, but you can get great results as long as you start with the right products.
Can I Eat And Drink Normally After Dental Bleaching?
As part of the bleaching process, the pores in your teeth are expanded to absorb the bleach and brighten your smile as a whole. The amount of time those pores are open will depend on the type of whitening you get. In general, it is best to stay away from dark drinks (coffee, wine, tea, soda) for a few days after you whiten your teeth, as well as anything with artificial coloring in it. If it would stain your tongue, it could stain your teeth – and that will put you even further behind. Try to avoid these types of foods and drinks shortly after your whitening so you can preserve your great new smile.