Teeth Whitening FAQs

We are constantly asked about teeth whitening.  It’s hard to find someone who does not want to whiten his or her teeth.  This blog will cover the questions most commonly googled about teeth whitening.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Yes.  Teeth whitening is safe and causes no permanent damage to the teeth.

In fact, there are scientific studies showing that teeth whitening can actually provide some benefits to your oral health.  The chemical used to whiten teeth can also kill bad bacteria in your mouth.  This reduces your risk for gum disease.

Another study shows that teeth whitening increases the microhardness of enamel.

While it is difficult to argue that teeth whitening is good for you, we can definitively state that it is perfectly safe.

The changes wrought by teeth whitening are also temporary.  The negative side effects of gum tenderness and tooth sensitivity completely subside when you stop whitening.

Is teeth whitening worth it?

You might have to answer this question for yourself.  Teeth whitening involves an investment of both time and money.  The payoff of those investments is a brighter smile using the quickest, most conservative form of cosmetic dentistry.

Is teeth whitening covered by insurance?


Teeth whitening falls under the category of cosmetic dentistry and usually does not have any insurance coverage.

Is teeth whitening painful?


Teeth whitening can cause temporary side effects.  These side effects include tooth sensitivity, tenderness or burning of the gums, and zingers.

Sensitivity to temperatures occurs when whitening gel touches the tooth root, the gel concentration is too high, or the gel is worn for too long.  If your teeth become very sensitive when whitening, talk to Dr. Chowning.  He will make adjustments to your whitening protocol to make it more comfortable for you.

Gum tenderness or burning occurs when the higher concentrations of whitening gel extrude from your whitening tray onto the gums.  The chemicals in teeth whitening gel are irritating to gum tissue and should not contact the gums at all.  One of the benefits of professional custom whitening trays is that they are trimmed away from your gums to prevent this side effect.

Zingers are sharp, shooting pains in one or more teeth during teeth whitening that last for 3-5 seconds.  The cause of zingers is unknown, but we have found that they are more likely to happen on teeth with dental work, small enamel fractures, or nerve damage.  They can be avoided by using a lower concentration of whitening gel.  If you experience zingers frequently, talk to Dr. Chowning about what changes you should make to your whitening regimen.

Is teeth whitening permanent?


The results of teeth whitening fade over time.  Staining of the teeth will reoccur when someone drinks coffee, tea or red wine frequently and/or smokes or uses smokeless tobacco.

Most people require maintenance whitening to keep the teeth at the desired shade.  The interval of maintenance whitening varies per person.  On average, most people whiten every six months.

Are teeth whitening strips safe?


Over-the-counter whitening strips, like Crest WhiteStrips, are safe to use.  They contain the same chemical ingredient as professional teeth whitening gel.  They typically have a lower strength, so it may take longer to notice a difference in the color of your teeth.

The strips must be properly placed on the teeth in order to work correctly without causing side effects.  They can cause the same teeth sensitivity and gum tenderness as professional whitening gels.  These are temporary side effects.

Is teeth whitening at dentist (in-office whitening) safe?


In-office whitening is very safe.  It uses a very high strength professional whitening gel with a barrier for the gums and oversight by a dental professional.  Because it is customized for each patient, exposed tooth roots are covered, the gum tissue is protected, and the best results are achieved.

Is teeth whitening at the dentist worth it?

In-office teeth whitening is the most expensive type of teeth whitening available today.  The reason for the greater expense is due to the cost of the ingredients and the time you spend in the dental chair.  We do all the work for you!

The benefit of in-office whitening is an instant result with a lower risk for side effects.  Many of our patients choose this option because they have a special event in less than a week.  Others choose in-office whitening because they know they are unlikely to be compliant with the at-home teeth whitening.  With in-office whitening, you will get whitening results without all the effort.

Are teeth whitening and bleaching the same thing?


Many people use the term bleaching because of the active ingredient in whitening products: hydrogen peroxide.

Do You Have Other Questions about Teeth Whitening?

Call 940-382-1750 today to schedule a whitening consultation with Dr. Chowning.  He can answer any other questions you have about teeth whitening and help you choose the option that is best for you.

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