Teeth Whitening | Risks, Results, Options and Cost & More

Teeth whitening
Teeth whitening


A nice smile is important. Stained or damaged teeth can be complex and have significant repercussions on social life, both professional and family. To find a bright smile, more and more people use teeth whitening, although another perfect option is dental veneers, widely used by famous people.

Why are the teeth darkened or stained?

The teeth are darkened by intrinsic factors (of the tooth itself) and extrinsic factors (external). According to the specialists, the color or tone of the teeth depends on the dentin; that is, some people will have whiter teeth than others. Also, other factors can darken the teeth or grind them, such as:

  • Eating foods with dyes that stain the enamel. (such as red wine, coffee, tobacco, etc.)
  • Certain medications such as antibiotics.
  • Lack of dental hygiene.
  • The aging of dentin.
  • Inevitable blows to the teeth.

It must be taken into account that with age, the teeth also turn more yellow. Generally, after 40, the natural aging of the tooth becomes more noticeable, say the specialists.

With teeth whitening, teeth will regain their white naturally, immediately, and quickly as long as a qualified and experienced dentist performs it.

Who is the ideal candidate?

There are few contraindications for this treatment, but it must be taken into account that it is not recommended in the following cases:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Minors.
  • People with intense drug treatment or dental hypersensitivity.

Ideally, teeth whitening is performed on a person with healthy teeth (without cavities), good dental hygiene, and not a smoker to ensure that the results will last longer.

How to choose a dentist?

According to experts, it must be borne in mind that tooth whitening and being performed for aesthetic purposes are dental treatments. Therefore, you have to make sure that the clinic and its professionals are adequate. It must be a registered dentist who makes a detailed diagnosis of the patient and his history.

Also, any whitening performed in a place other than a dental clinic can have severe consequences for the teeth and oral health in general.


Before teeth whitening

To obtain an optimal result of the treatment, we recommend that you have very good oral hygiene. For example, the WHO recommends brushing twice a day (morning and evening) for two minutes and flossing every night.

Also, it is advisable to eat a varied and balanced diet and visit a dentist at least twice a year. It is also recommended not to smoke in the days or weeks before the whitening treatment.

Before tooth whitening, professionals will use letter colors to see the best for you and that the result is natural. This color chart is divided into four categories: brown-red, reddish-red, gray, and gray-red. Also, they will perform a previous diagnosis to ensure that the gums, teeth, or other tissues are not in danger.

How is a teeth whitening session performed?

Depending on the needs of each patient, the dentist will choose the type of whitening to be performed. First of all, it is necessary to undergo a thorough cleaning of the oral cavity. The dentist will proceed with the air polishing technique; a jet of water and bicarbonate will be passed over the dentition to remove stains.

The next phase is called whitening and consists of the chemical discoloration of dentin, the pigment that causes tooth color. The products used for this purpose are gels based on hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, the only two components certified by the FDA, the US agency for drug control. The dentist applies the gel to the teeth, using a template modeled on the patient’s teeth.

This technique is known as photodynamic bleaching because to take full advantage of the bleaching properties of peroxides, it is necessary to use cold light sources, such as LEDs, lasers, or plasma. In general, the session lasts a maximum of 45 minutes and is not painful, and the patient may experience hypersensitivity in the days after the treatment.

As mentioned, in some cases, the treatment can be done at home. The doctor will suggest the whitening kit to use, which can be of various brands. It should be considered that products for home use will always have a lower whitening capacity than that of professionals that the doctor can only use.


After teeth whitening

According to the dentists, to ensure a good result it is essential to follow the following instructions after teeth whitening:

  • Do not drink coffee, wine, or foods that can stain your teeth like beets for at least 72 hours afterward
  • Avoid cold or very hot foods and drinks as they can cause sensitivity
  • Do not paint your lips the days after whitening
  • Do not smoke the days after treatment

After whitening, you may feel a faint tingling. If you have chosen a home treatment and experience pain or tenderness, the treatment should be stopped immediately.


The results of teeth whitening are visible immediately after the session. Its duration can range from 6 months to 3 years since it varies depending on the type of treatment chosen (in consultation or at home), your eating habits, and your dental hygiene. Therefore, it is important to follow the recommendations even after treatment.

If necessary, the teeth whitening treatment can be repeated after a few years, and if the dentist and the patient see fit, there are no contraindications.

Frequent questions

  • Who can whiten their teeth? Most people can have teeth whitening, and there are few contraindications (pregnancy, breastfeeding, sensitive teeth, false teeth, etc.). It should be noted that it may be more effective for some people.
  • How to keep your teeth white longer? Good dental hygiene (brushing, mouthwash, etc.) is imperative. It is also advisable to avoid tobacco, tea, coffee, or any food that can stain the teeth.
  • Our teeth cleaning mandatory before teeth whitening? It is not compulsory but is recommended for the best efficiency and optimal treatment durability.
  • Can we whiten our teeth during pregnancy? It is not possible to do teeth whitening while pregnant or breastfeeding. Peroxide can cross the placental barrier and affect the fetus or pass into breast milk.
  • How long do the effects of teeth whitening last? On average, the effects are visible for 18 months. But this can vary from person to person and go from 6 months to 3 years. The delay varies depending on oral hygiene, eating habits, drinking tea or coffee, smoking, etc.
  • If I have teeth whitening, is it possible that my teeth are completely white, or will they still have a yellowish tone? Whitening does not paint teeth white; what they do is a kind of deep cleaning, and the resulting color after whitening will be yours. To have completely white teeth, you will have to evaluate other options.
  • What foods to take for teeth whitening?
  • You should “avoid” staining foods and tobacco.
  • Red wine, coffee, strawberries, cherries, chocolate, herbal teas, and beets. In general rule, everything that stains a white T-shirt a lot.
  • The pineapple has no problem. The orange is not very worrying if you brush your teeth well.
  • Could teeth whitening accentuate stains on teeth? In this case, as you tell us when you have white spots on your teeth and perform a whitening, the lighter areas will continue on the tooth. In these cases, it is more advisable to carry out a definitive whitening treatment and achieve a homogeneous color, either with Lumineers veneers or with highly aesthetic composite veneers. In neither of the 2 cases is the tooth reduced, nor does it deteriorate, and they are 100% reversible.
  • How many times can teeth whitening be done? If a dentist supervises you and there are no complications, there should be no problem doing it as often as

What do you think?

Written by Leena Wadia

Linguist-translator by education. I have been working in the field of advertising journalism for over 9 years.


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