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What to Know About Whitening

A recent study by Philips Sonicare and USA Today revealed that, for 47 percent of people, the first thing they notice when they meet you is your smile. No pressure there or anything, right? Unless, of course, your smile isn’t quite as white as it could be. Thankfully, if that describes you, there’s plenty you can do about it – from whitening toothpastes to professional whitening treatments and even veneers, there’s no shortage of solutions to give you a bright, white, healthy-looking smile. But unfortunately, despite these myriad options, there are still a lot of misconceptions about teeth whitening. If you’re interested in polishing up those pearly whites, check out these lesser-known facts so you know exactly what to expect from your whitening treatment.

Can I whiten my veneers?

Veneers are extremely thin sheets of porcelain that are fitted to the tooth and permanently adhered in place. They can change the shape and color of the teeth without having to replace the entire tooth. Veneers are a beautiful way to get a whiter, healthier-looking smile, but they still can discolor over time.

The good news is that you can clean veneers and generally restore them back to their original color once the staining has been removed. However, if you are seeking a whiter shade than the original shade of veneer you had placed, there’s really no way to do this. The only solution in that case would be to remove the current veneers and replace them with new veneers in a lighter shade. If you are less than satisfied with the color of your veneers, speak to Dr. Hill about what exactly is bothering you about your veneers. If a deep cleaning doesn’t achieve the results you want, he can discuss replacement options with you.

I’ve heard whitening hurts a lot!

There are a lot of people out there with what we refer to as sensitive teeth. For some reason, tooth sensitivity occurs in women between the ages of 18 and 44 at a rate of about 1.8 times more than men in the same age group. While we don’t know exactly why this is, we do know that for people who already have sensitive teeth, teeth whitening may cause a bit more sensitivity than for those who don’t. Here at Hill Dental Studio, we do our very best to treat the teeth prior to the whitening treatment, to make sure they are protected and experience as little discomfort as possible. Similarly, when your treatment is complete, we send you home with care instructions to not only keep your teeth white for as long as possible, but also to minimize any potential sensitivity that may occur after the fact.

For people with healthy teeth that do not experience sensitivity to hot and cold, there is very little risk of pain or sensitivity following your whitening procedure.

How long will my teeth stay white after I whiten them?

Another common question we get asked is, "How long can I expect my teeth to stay white?" Well, the answer to that question depends on a few things. First of all, when you whiten the teeth they become porous. This is good news, because it allows the deep-set stains to come out of the enamel. Unfortunately, however, it also means that the teeth are more susceptible to new stains in the first few days after they are whitened. This means that barbecue sauce, coffee, red wine or any other foods that would stain a white shirt will probably also stain your newly whitened teeth, so we recommend you avoid those foods for at least a few days following your treatment.

If you do avoid dark foods, brush and floss regularly, and are careful not to smoke or eat foods that would cause discoloration, your whitening should last a long time.

What if I have fillings?

Dr. Hill likes to remind patients that if there is a filling or crown on the front of the tooth, whitening treatments will not change the color of that filling. This means that the filling or crown may appear darker than the rest of your teeth, or more obvious. If you are unhappy with the difference in color following your whitening treatment, speak with Dr. Hill about replacing the filling with a lighter-colored composite so it better matches the rest of your smile.

If you have any further questions or concerns about whitening your teeth or deep cleaning your veneers, please give Dr. Hill’s office a call at 469-640-9550.

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