Q. What causes tooth discoloration?
A. There are many causes of tooth discoloration. Some of the most common include aging and
heavily pigmented food and beverages. More serious causes are excessive fluoride or tetracycline (antibiotic) consumption.
Q. How does teeth whitening work?
A. The active ingredient in the teeth whitening gel is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
The peroxide enters the tooth and safely removes stains by whitening the enamel and dentin.
Q. Who should NOT undergo teeth whitening?
A. Any of the following:
- Pregnant or lactating women
- People with poor enamel or decalcification caused by excessive use of fluorides.
- People with periodontal disease including gingivitis or gums in poor condition
- People who wear braces
- People who recently had oral surgery
- People with decaying teeth or exposed roots
- People with open cavities
- People with a history of allergic reactions to peroxide products
- People under the age of 14
Q. Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
A. Almost everyone. However, there are some cases where treatment may not be effective.
Tetracycline (antibiotic) discolorations and artificial dental work are usually not greatly
responsive to dental bleaching.
Q. Will teeth whitening work on crowns, veneers and other artificial dental work?
No. Teeth whitening will not work on crowns, veneers or composite fillings. The gel will only
whiten natural teeth.
Q. Are there any side effects?
A. 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.
Q. Is teeth whitening safe?
A. Yes. Decades of research have proven whitening to be both safe and effective.
Q. How long does the whitening last?
A. This depends on the person’s habits and the porosity of the teeth. Touch-ups are recommended every 3-6 months, though.
Q. What does the gel do?
The surface of the teeth contains millions of microscopic pores, and over the years, the organic compounds from food and drink penetrate these pores causing discoloration. Teeth whitening occurs when hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen molecules, which penetrate through the enamel and go into the dentin, which is directly under the enamel. These molecules go into the tiny pores of the enamel and dentin and whiten the colored substances.