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Questions about Tooth Whitening

Q: I don’t smoke, and I rarely drink tea or coffee. Why are my teeth not as white as they used to be?
A: As you mentioned, drinking coffee and smoking can make your teeth turn yellow. Other foods and drinks can also cause your teeth to become discolored, including red wine, black tea, soda, and berries. Certain medications can also cause teeth to darken. Your teeth are partially porous, and they can absorb the pigments and colors contained in these things. While I am sure it isn’t a factor in your case, people’s teeth also darken as they age.

Q: What can I do about the discoloration of my teeth?
A: I would recommend you come in for a professional tooth whitening treatment, Tony. I use a ten percent bleaching solution to help whiten your teeth, which has been clinically proven to be safe. Normally this tooth bleaching treatment is effective for around six months.

Q: Are there any side-effects of tooth bleaching?
A: Some of the gels used for tooth bleaching may cause tooth sensitivity. Others include a sensitivity preventative ingredient in the gel. In either case, I recommend a toothpaste like Sensodyne for use after the tooth whitening process.

Q: I have a long commute after working all day down town. Does the process take more than one visit?
A: While every patient is different, tooth bleaching is normally accomplished in one office visit. Or we can utilize the recent development of GLO whitening, which combines the power of an in-office treatment with the ease of an at-home system. Once you get an initial treatment, you can take home the whitening kit, including a special portable whitening light. That way, you can maintain your results. And it only takes about as much time as the average commute in the Philadelphia area: 32 minutes!

Q: Is bleaching safe for porcelain veneers?
A: The tooth whitening solution is save for porcelain veneers and fillings as well.

Q: My daughter is using a bleaching kit she bought at a drug store. Is it safe for her teeth?
A: Tooth bleaching is safe and effective for patients of any age, and it will permanently lighten their teeth. While all patients will need follow up treatments, the effects of whitening are lasting. This is not always true of the over-the-counter treatments that you find in your local grocery store. These treatments are not custom fitted to your teeth, and the whitening solution is not able to make contact with the teeth as effectively. If your daughter is determined to use these products, instruct her to ensure that her teeth are dry when she uses them. Saliva can counteract the tooth bleaching agents.

Celebrities are endorsing a home kit that includes a whitening light, but we think that system is not as good as the new GLO whitening kit. We encourage you to consider your options and make sure you’re choosing the safest, most effective option out there.

If you have questions about tooth whitening that you would like answered, call us at (610) 272-0828 or contact Dr. Kenneth Siegel of Philadelphia. His office will be happy to help!