FAQs about Teeth Whitening

Experienced Silver Spring cosmetic dentist, Dr. Alan Wolcott, provides the answers to your frequently asked questions about teeth whitening.

FAQ: What is teeth whitening?

Answer: Teeth whitening is a non-surgical cosmetic procedure that is done to brighten the color of the enamel of natural teeth. It can either be administered by your dentist in-office or can be done at home.

FAQ: What causes my teeth to become discolored and stained?

Answer: Tooth discoloration over time is somewhat unavoidable because many of the foods and beverages we consume naturally contain tannins, dyes and pigments. This can cause your enamel to darken and become dulled. Tooth-staining agents, conditions and habits include:

• Dark berries, balsamic vinegar and beetroot, etc.
• Tea, coffee, dark sodas, dark fruit juices and red wine, etc.
• Chewing and smoking tobacco
• Certain medications
• Over-exposure to fluoride during childhood
• Bad oral hygiene
• Acid reflux

While teeth whitening does not address the cause of discoloration or the deep staining caused by, for example, fluorosis or decay, it can lighten the shade of your dental enamel considerably, thereby making them look whiter, much healthier and decades younger

Important Note: Dr. Wolcott will first determine the cause of tooth discoloration and if it does come down to something more serious, like tooth decay or acid reflux, you may require treatment first before he proceeds with teeth whitening.

FAQ: How does a teeth whitening procedure work?

Answer: There are a number of teeth whitening methods used by Silver Spring dentists, such as Dr. Alan Wolcott. There is deep bleaching, which typically involves the daily application of a bleaching gel to the surface of the teeth and allowing it to sit in place for a period of time. There’s laser/light activated bleaching and this needs to be performed in-office for quick and immediately noticeable results.

And then there are take-home teeth whitening kits, which make use of a customized mouth tray and a bleaching gel. The mouth tray is lined with the bleaching gel and then pressed onto the teeth. By wearing your mouth tray once per day for an hour or overnight – depending on Dr. Wolcott’s recommendations – the shade of your teeth will gradually get lighter and more beautiful. Simply cease treatment when you’ve reached the desired level of brightness or when recommended by Dr. Wolcott

FAQ: Are over-the-counter teeth whitening products any good?

Answer: Over-the-counter teeth whitening products, such as whitening strips and toothpastes that contain a small percentage of bleaching agent and brush-on whiteners are great for at-home maintenance. However, if you want to benefit from a more effective treatment, professional whitening is the route to go.

A professional treatment from Silver Spring teeth whitening dentist, Dr. Alan Wolcott, is typically far safer, risk-free and convenient for people who want whiter teeth. Additionally, the products used by our dental practice are legally allowed to contain a greater percentage of the bleaching agent, which makes the treatment far more effective.

FAQ: Does teeth whitening have any side effects?

Answer: Teeth whitening treatments done by Dr. Wolcott are completely safe with the only side effect typically being tooth sensitivity. This, however, is short-lived and abates after treatment. Tooth sensitivity is the body’s natural reaction to the bleaching chemicals in the whitening gel used. Some patients experience more severe tooth sensitivity while others don’t experience any, so it is something that varies.

While tooth sensitivity can be unpleasant, it’s unlikely to damage your teeth. If you do experience any undesirable side effects, you are to contact your dentist immediately. Additionally, it is vitally important that you adhere to the treatment time and dosage recommended by your cosmetic dentist.

FAQ: How long do the results last?

Answer: The results of teeth whitening are permanent, but this doesn’t mean your teeth won’t become discolored, dulled or stained again. If you want the results of a teeth whitening treatment to last, you should minimize your intake of foods and beverages that cause staining, such as coffee, tea, red wine and other dark foods. Smoking is also a no-no for Silver Spring residents who wish to keep their teeth beautifully white and healthy.

If you don’t smoke, the results of a professional treatment can last between five and seven years before re-treatment is considered.

Contact Silver Spring Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Alan Wolcott

If you have any further questions about teeth whitening or you wish to book yourself an appointment with Dr. Alan Wolcott, don’t hesitate to contact our office at (301) 850-0037. Alternatively, you can fill out the Contact Form on our website and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

Dental Health Associates
1734 Elton Road,
Silver Spring,
Maryland – 20903

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