Our smile is usually the first thing people notice on you. However, a lot of things such as red wine, coffee and tea can stain your precious pearl, causing them to darken. We received lots of questions from people who are considering whitening their teeth. Here are the answers to some common questions we hear.

How does tooth whitening works

Whitening products uses peroxide-based bleach that destroys both surface and deep stains in the tooth enamel. The level of whiteness that you can achieve will differ based on how much staining you have, the condition of your teeth and the form of bleaching system you use.

Will it work on all teeth?

No. It is best to discuss with your pediatric dentist before you decide to whiten your teeth because not all whitening products can correct all types of discoloration. Brown teeth may not respond well as well as teeth with gray tones. Yellow teeth often bleach well. Additionally, whitening won’t work on veneers, caps, fillings or crowns. Also, it will not be effective on discoloration due to tooth injury or medications.

Is it safe for kids?

The Academy of General Dentistry suggests postponing whitening until your child reaches at least 14 years of age, when the tooth pulp is completely formed. This will help reduce the level of sensitivity. But to be safe, it is still preferable to hold off and wait until he/she is 17 or 18 before giving them the green signal.

Parents and teens sometimes worry when the permanent teeth appear yellower than the baby teeth. But this is perfectly normal. Aside from being smaller, baby teeth are also brighter and whiter. It does not mean that your child’s permanent teeth are healthy or stained. Further, kids that have their braces removed may complain of whiter areas where the braces were attached. This is a very common issue as those teeth got long-term protection from food stains.

Can a person with highly sensitive teeth get teeth whitening treatment?

Yes. There are several ways to address sensitivity issue.

1.       The length of time between procedures can be prolonged.

2.       The strength of the whitening solution and the length of time the teeth are exposed can be adjusted.

3.       To help sensitivity after the procedure, patient may use a high fluoride, remineralization gel or OTC product sensitivity strips.

It is important to talk your dentist about sensitivity problem.

There are certainly ways you can do to reduce sensitivity. Avoid foods that are too cold or hot. Take pain reliever before the treatment. Use a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth along with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits.

How long does it last?

Teeth whitening is not permanent. If your teeth are exposed to beverages or foods that could cause staining, the whitening may begin to fade in as short as a month. But, if you avoid these foods, you may be able to maintain it as long as a year before touch-up or another treatment is necessary.