Bleaching and Teeth Whitening: Common Questions

Questions about Tooth Whitening/Bleaching

Q: Does tooth whitening cause permanent tooth sensitivity?

A: Sensitivity from tooth whitening is always transient. That means if there is any sensitivity caused by the whitening, it goes away and the patient returns to the state of sensitivity prior to starting the whitening process. However, sometimes the sensitivity can take several weeks to calm down especially after in-office bleaching. We use bleaching materials that contain desensitizers. If you already have very sensitive teeth prior to bleaching, we recommend at home bleaching. Before you start bleaching we will have you use a special desensitizing gel in the custom-fit whitening tray.

Q: Is tooth bleaching safe?

A: Yes, many studies have proven that tooth whitening is safe. Sensitivity is transient and as long as you do not bleach every month, you do not hurt your teeth.

Q: How long does tooth whitening last?

A: Typically, you can expect whitening to last about 2 years. Some studies report results lasting up to 10 years. If you use the at home bleaching trays, we recommend a touch up once a year for a few days for maintenance. Also, if you avoid coffee, red wine, tea and smoking you can help preserve your results.

Q: Does tooth whitening affect crowns, fillings or veneers? 

A: Tooth whitening has little to no effect on your existing dental work. So if you have a lot of existing dental work on your front teeth you might have to have some of that redone after whitening. This is why it’s always a good idea to check with your dentist before beginning any kind of tooth whitening.