Updated: Dec 14, 2021
Teeth whitening is a safe and simple process that can completely transform the smile. Here, League City dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman answers common questions about this popular cosmetic procedure.
Q: What exactly is teeth whitening? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: Teeth whitening is the process of lightening one’s teeth. It’s a cosmetic procedure that may be done either in the dentist’s office or at home. The process is the same for both options: a set of trays is filled with whitening gel and placed over the teeth. A special light may be used to intensify the effect. In-office whitening gel is a higher concentration and trays are custom molded for a precise fit.
Q: Does it hurt? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: Because the chemicals used contain peroxide, some people experience gum irritation and/or mild tooth sensitivity in the hours immediately following a whitening session.
Q: What are some common causes of staining? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: Natural tooth color is predetermined by genetics. However, there are a number of reasons teeth may become yellow or stained. Tobacco use and drinking coffee or tea are some of the primary culprits here. Poor oral hygiene also contributes to discoloration.
Q: Do genetics play a role? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: At times, yes. The color of the teeth is created by light reflected off the enamel. If you have thin enamel, the inside of the tooth (dentin) shows through more so than in those with a thicker outer surface. The surface texture of the enamel also plays a part in how light is reflected.
Q: What is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic stains? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: Extrinsic stains are those that occur on the surface of the teeth; intrinsic develop on the inside. Intrinsic staining may be caused by age, trauma, over-exposure to fluoride, or by the use of tetracycline antibiotics during early childhood.
Q: Does teeth whitening address both? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: Teeth whitening is most effective against surface stains.
Q: Is it safe? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: There are no known major complications associated with teeth whitening. However, certain oral health issues may make teeth more sensitive to the chemicals. Pregnant women should not whiten their teeth as the effects of the whitening materials on fetal development are as yet unknown.
Q: Is whitening permanent? League City Dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman: No, but with proper care and avoidance of staining agents, teeth may only need to be touched up once every few years.
Ready for a brighter smile? Call League City dentist Dr. Ramzi Saman at Tuscan Lakes Family Dentistry to schedule your appointment today.