Teeth Whitening Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about dental hygiene and teeth
Q1. What is the difference between plaque and tartar?
Plaque is usually a collection of bacteria that deposit themselves on the teeth and then get mixed with the food
and saliva that enters the mouth. It usually begins its accumulation from the gumline, i.e. the line where the gums
and teeth meet. It can be removed by regular hygienic practices such as brushing and flossing. Since plaque can
form on even the cleanest of mouths within about eight hours, it is very important to brush the teeth at least
If the plaque is not washed out regularly, it will harden into a substance known as tartar. Tartar can be very
unsightly and it cannot be removed easily. A dentist's help is needed.
The best way to avoid tartar is to clean out the plaque as it keeps collecting. Brushing twice a day with a
good quality toothpaste with tartar protection is
strongly recommended to avoid having any plaque buildup on the teeth.
Q2. What causes tooth discoloration?
There are usually many factors and causes for discoloration of the tooth. Please refer to the page on
discoloration to understand the causes and treatments for tooth disoloration including methods on how
to prevent future discoloration of the teeth.
Q3. Are teeth whitening toothpastes any good?
Teeth whitening toothpastes work on a specific principle known as abrasion. These toothpastes have some mild
abrasives in them such as calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, aluminum oxide, etc. When they are brought in contact
with the teeth when brushing, these rough molecules scrape off the outer stains on the teeth and maintain the
whiteness of the teeth.
Typically, teeth whitening toothpaste cannot bleach or whiten your teeth but it is very effective for removing
mild surface stains on the teeth or help maintain the whiteness of the teeth after a dental cleaning procedure.
Read more about teeth whitening toothpastes...
Q4. What is the difference between a 7-day teeth whitening strips kit and
a 14-day teeth whitening strips kit?
The difference is in the concentration of peroxide that is present in them. The 14-day kit has a lower
concentration and so it needs to be used for a greater number of days. The kits contain as many strips as are
required, and there are strips for both the upper and the lower jaws. However, both kinds of strips need to be kept
in contact with the teeth for at least thirty minutes everyday for twice a day.
Depending on what you are looking for from whitening,
Crest Whitestrips is a
good choice and is the #1 dentist-recommended teeth whitening brand in the U.S.
Q5. Is there an option to the bleaching strips?
There are teeth
whitening kits which can be a good alternative to bleaching strips. These kits contain stronger
bleaching gels, such as carbamide peroxide, and hence they have a better whitening effect.
Q6. Who may benefit from tooth whitening?
Almost everyone. Tooth whitening is ideal for patients who have healthy, unrestored teeth and would like a
whiter, brighter smile. However, there are some cases where treatment may not be effective.
Q7. What kinds of dental stains can be removed by
Not all stains on the teeth can be removed by bleaching. If the teeth have become yellowed due to the consuming
the foods and beverages such as tobacco, cola drinks, etc., then the stains can be easily removed by professional
teeth whitening kits or an in-office bleaching treatment.
Tetracycline discolorations and artificial dental work are usually not greatly responsive to dental bleaching.
Crowns, bridges, bondings, and fillings also do not lighten.
Q8. What is the cost of a professional whitening
Professional methods to whiten your teeth can be very expensive. A normal in-office bleaching can cost anywhere
from $200 per session. A complete treatment with laser procedure can
cost upward of $1,000.
Q9. What are the economical teeth whitening methods in use
If your teeth is not so stained or discolored, then you can invest in teeth whitening
strips. Costing just about $30 a box, this can be the most economical solution. However if you need a
more complete and effective treatment at home, you will need to buy a professional teeth whitening
kit. The cost of such a kit could be anywhere from $50 to $80.
Q10. What kinds of problems might occur with a teeth whitening
Some of these teeth whitening methods and treatments can be painful if not performed correctly. In cases where
proper guards are not used for the gums, the bleaching agents can irritate the gums and cause soreness in them. The
same can happen with the teeth whitening strips which people use at home. The line where the strip touches the gums
can become sore after a while.
However, any gum irritation or irritation usually disappears within 1-3 days upon the discontinuation or
completion of treatment.
Q11. What are the dangers of teeth whitening methods?
To understand the potential risks, side effects and problems you might encounter when you have your teeth
whitened, please refer to the page on dangers in whitening
Q12. Is professional teeth whitening process
For most people, the treatment will last for many years depending on the kind of care you are taking for the
teeth. Your teeth have become disocolored in the first place from consuming the foods and beverages (especially
coffee, colas and red wines), smoking and other consumables that will gradually darken teeth over time.
You may want to periodically bleach your teeth about once every 6-12 months to help maintain the natural
whiteness of the teeth.