Answers to Some Common Questions About Getting Your Teeth Whitened

Posted on: 16 March 2016

Teeth whitening by a dentist is a very common and quick procedure and one that many people think about as their teeth get yellow with age, smoking, and the like. While it may be very common, some might hesitate to have this process done because they're not sure if it's safe, if it will hurt or damage the teeth, or if it will work on their teeth. Note a few questions you might have about tooth whitening procedures and then discuss this option with your dentist if you've been considering it.

1. Is tooth whitening safe?

 Some whitening products you buy in a pharmacy might have warnings on the label about them damaging teeth, because they may use abrasive products that scrub away enamel. You might also overuse these products, trying to get your teeth as white as possible as quickly as possible, and in turn, damage your teeth. However, your dentist will use a very safe bleach that simply penetrates stains without stripping the tooth enamel and won't overuse that bleach; if necessary, you might be asked to come back in a few months to have the bleaching process done again, rather than trying to get your teeth as white as you want in just one visit.

2. Does tooth whitening hurt?

Tooth sensitivity varies from person to person; some people report that a simple cleaning from the dentist hurts, while others report no discomfort whatsoever. The tooth whitening products and processes used by a dentist shouldn't cause pain, but if you're especially sensitive or have enamel damage to the teeth already, you might feel some slight discomfort. Ask your dentist if the condition of your teeth may cause sensitivity, and note that you may still be able to get your teeth bleached, but you may simply need to avoid very hot or cold foods for a few days while this sensitivity subsides.

3. Can tooth whitening products be put over caps, bonding, and the like?

Typically the materials used to whiten your natural teeth won't affect the color of caps, bonding, veneers, and other such products, as these are not made with the same material as your real teeth. If you're concerned about caps or other artificial teeth matching the color of your real teeth, ask your dentist if these can be painted or colored as needed.

4. Can teeth whitening strengthen teeth?

White teeth are typically seen as strong, healthy teeth, but this isn't always the case. Tooth whitening is not the same as adding a sealant or any type of protective covering over the teeth. If you're worried about cavities or damage to your teeth from smoking and the like, ask your dentist about separate sealants or other protection. 

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