Teeth Whitening FAQ | Questions Answered By Lakewood Dentist Scott Greenhalgh!

Cosmetic Dentist Serving Lakewood, Denver, Golden & Nearby Colorado

Why do our teeth become discolored?

There are several reasons:

  • If you drink a lot of coffee, red wine, black tea, or dark cola drinks, or if you eat a lot of berries, the pigments in these substances are absorbed by tooth enamel, which is partially porous. This can stain your teeth. This is not to say you should give up those foods and drinks. The staining can be removed by a tooth whitening procedure, restoring your original white enamel color.
  • Aging – even if you have a low-staining diet, everyone’s teeth become darker over time.
  • Overuse of fluoride.
  • Old metal fillings which start to show through.
  • Certain medications such as tetracycline which are given during childhood and stain the teeth as they are developing.
  • Tobacco use.

From this list you can see that a whitening procedure is not the only way to correct discolored teeth. If you have old metal fillings darkening any teeth, Dr. Greenhalgh can replace them with white fillings. Tobacco also has other harmful effect in your mouth beyond discoloring your teeth and our office can assist you in a smoking cessation program. If you live in a rural area, we can assist you in getting your water tested to check for the correct concentration of fluoride.

How white could my teeth become?

When you have an effective teeth whitening procedure, you’ll be astonished at how white your teeth have become. Your teeth can actually become whiter than your natural lightest shade. You can whiten your teeth at almost any age.

How does teeth whitening work?

Deep Bleaching - Denver Tooth Whitening | Greenhalgh DDSIt works by using various peroxide gels, usually carbamide peroxide, or sometimes hydrogen peroxide, which release oxygen into the tooth structure. If your teeth can absorb the oxygen well, the dark-colored long-chain stain molecules are broken into short molecules. Teeth vary in how well they absorb the oxygen, which causes teeth whitening results to vary person-to-person. Stronger gels produce more oxygen.

Whitening happens only while the teeth are in contact with the whitening gel. That is why store-bought whitening kits are not very effective – they have generic trays which almost certainly will not fit your teeth closely and evenly.

One thing that many people are unaware of is that saliva will inactivate the bleach. Part of the preparation of our in-office treatment is to dry the teeth before applying the whitening gel. If you are using a home kit, be sure to dry your teeth before you insert each tray. The best trays will make a seal at their edge to keep bleaching gel and saliva separate.

Stains caused by food and drink are organic and respond well to the action of oxygen. Stains caused by too much fluoride or some of the antibiotics are inorganic and do not respond well to the oxygen.

We do offer solutions and alternatives for difficult whitening areas

How long will my teeth stay white?

After whitening your teeth will always be lighter than their original color.

Your teeth can remain white for years depending on how often you eat and drink highly pigmented substances and how compliant you are with your oral hygiene routine. There is also a maintenance routine of easy at-home touch ups that can help to sustain the brightness for even longer!

Get answers to your teeth whitening questions during an in-person appointment with Scott Greenhalgh, DDS. Call our Lakewood office at 303-988-9060 today.