(757) 321-9019

Teeth Whitening FAQs

Click on a question below to reveal the answer.
If you have a questions about our teeth whitening FAQs not answered on this page, please contact us.

How long does the treatment take?

It takes about an hour, sometimes a little less and occasionally a little longer.

How white will my teeth get?

It varies. A teeth whitening treatment will not make your teeth snow white; it will make them whiter. How much whiter? It really depends on a number of factors, including how stained your teeth were before the whitening, what kind of staining agents caused most of the coloration, how well your enamel reacts to gel, the kind and strength of gel used and the number of treatments performed. However, your teeth can only be whitened to their natural color, which varies significantly from person to person. Most people get impressive results while a few get less dramatic results, but 99% of people are very satisfied with the results they obtain with our system. 7-12 shades improvement is the norm with our system.

Can all teeth be whitened?

While most natural teeth can be whitened, there are a number of exceptions. Unfortunately, only real (natural) teeth can we whitened significantly. Caps, crowns, veneers, etc can sometimes benefit slightly from a teeth whitening treatment, but not much really, and could only be taken back to their original color. People whose stains are derived from the antibiotic tetracycline or from fluorosis will see little or no improvement, but in some cases a little improvement means a lot to them. The more yellow your teeth are, the easier they are to whiten and the greater the improvement you will obtain.

How long will the results last?

The normal range is between 6 months and 2 years. There is such a wide variation because people have different habits. The more staining beverages and foods you consume and the more you smoke, the shorter the duration of your results. The other factor is how porous your teeth are. Unfortunately there is no easy way of knowing how porous your teeth are, but the more porous the quicker the stains will creep back in there.

What can I eat or drink after the treatment?

It’s called the “White Diet”. After the treatment you cannot smoke or eat or drink anything but water for 1 hour. For the next 24 hours (preferably 48 if you can), you should abstain from enjoying any of the usual tooth-staining suspects (coffee, red wine, tea, colas, tobacco, and even citrus juices). We can tell you how you might be able to get away with drinking these beverages if you really must get your fix. A full set of after-care instructions are provided after the treatment concludes.

Can I do anything to make the results last longer?

It is recommended that you continue to apply gel to your teeth at home every day for 7 days after the treatment. This prevents possible “color regression” which means that on some people some of the color can return to the teeth sooner than desired. Some of the whitening you see is caused by the dehydration that the teeth experience during the treatment, and when they rehydrate, some of the color can return (not all of it, just some). During the treatment, the pores in your enamel open up and remain open for at least 24 hours after the treatment. Since they are open, if you continue to apply whitening gel, even if it is a weaker concentration, the oxygen molecules will continue to penetrate to the dentin layer where the deep whitening takes place, which is the whitening that lasts. The most practical way of doing this is a touch-up pen, but some people elect to use a take-home kit with mouth trays.

What causes tooth discoloration?

There are many causes of tooth discoloration. Some of the most common including aging and heavily pigmented food and beverages. More serious causes are excessive fluoride and tetracycline (antibiotic) consumption.

How does teeth whitening work?

The active ingredient in teeth whitening gel is hydrogel peroxide or carbamide peroxide.  The peroxide enters the tooth and safely removes stains by bleaching the enamel and dentin.

Who should not undergo teeth whitening?

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

Who may benefit from tooth whitening?

Almost anyone.  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.

Will teeth whitening work on crowns, veneers, and other artificial dental work?

No.  Teeth whitening will not work on crowns, venners, or composite fillings.  The gel will only whiten natural teeth.

Are there any side effects?

The most common side effects from tooth whitening are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.  These symptoms are temporary and should subside after the whitening treatment.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Yes!  Decades of research have proven bleaching to both be safe and effective.