It’s one of the most common dental procedures today, but even if you’ve had your teeth professionally whitened already, you may still have questions. For instance, can over-the-counter products produce similar results? What if you’ve had a dental restoration, like a crown, placed since your last visit; will whitening still be effective?
There are almost endless teeth bleaching and whitening products available over-the-counter, and like professional whitening, many of them contain similar brightening agents. The difference, though, is that OTC products are significantly diluted to make them safe for mass consumption, which makes them less effective than professional treatment.
Despite the increased strength of professional teeth whitening, the solution is gentle on your natural tooth enamel and produces little to no sensitivity. Your dentist will also inspect your teeth first to ensure that your teeth and enamel are healthy to avoid tooth sensitivity from other issues, such as a cavity.
The longevity of teeth whitening’s results differs from patient to patient, but can be prolonged for most people by maintaining excellent hygiene and a regular schedule of dental cleanings. Certain foods and beverages, like wine, coffee, berries, and dark sauces, can cause your teeth to stain faster and need whitening again sooner.
If you have a dental crown, filling, inlay, onlay, or veneer, than it won’t respond to the chemicals that make teeth whitening effective. If your teeth and/or restoration become stained, then consult with your dentist to decide the best cosmetic option for brightening your smile.