“Does teeth whitening hurt?” and Other FAQs

August 8, 2022

Close up of girl with white teethTeeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments available. Whitening is a quick and affordable way to get a smile that any Hollywood A-lister would envy. 

But if this is your first time to undergo treatment, you likely have a lot of questions. Fortunately, our Huntington Beach dentist, Dr. Jason Cellars, and his team are committed to patient education and are always ready to answer your queries and address your concerns. 

Read on for some answers to common questions about teeth whitening. Then contact us to book your consultation and find out whether teeth whitening or another cosmetic treatment may be right for you. 

Does teeth whitening hurt?

Teeth whitening itself involves little to no discomfort. However, about two-thirds of all patients experience some mild tooth sensitivity after treatment. Usually, sensitivity begins two or three days after whitening and subsides by day four.

Some patients may also experience gum irritation, but this is also mild and temporary.

Can I use charcoal to whiten my teeth?

Fueled by Insta-worthy shots of black lattes and ice cream, along with impressive health claims, charcoal is having a moment. But evidence that charcoal can whiten teeth is unfounded. In fact, the American Dental Association warns that charcoal can have an abrasive effect, wearing away the dental enamel. Not only does this increase your risk for cavities; it also exposes the layer of dentin below. Dentin is naturally less white than enamel. And it is more porous, meaning it is more prone to future stains. 

What’s the difference between over-the-counter whitening and professional whitening? 

Anyone who has watched TV with commercials (Yeah, remember those?) can tell you that whitening products abound. Toothpastes, gels, and even chewing gums promise stunning results with frequent use. But while these products can be somewhat effective, they do not have the same dramatic results as dentist-provided whitening. 

Furthermore, some over-the-counter whitening products contain unsafe levels of peroxide, which can damage your teeth and increase the risk of dental sensitivity. If you do choose a store-bought whitening product, be sure to select one that carries the Seal of Approval from the American Dental Association.

What types of teeth whitening are available from the dentist?

Dr. Cellars proudly offers both in-office and take-home teeth whitening. In just one hour, your smile could be as much as 8 shades lighter! Your dental professional will coat your teeth in a safe, peroxide-based whitening gel. A special light will activate the gel and speed the process. 

Take-home whitening kits use peroxide-based gel with a reduced concentration. You will fill custom whitening trays with this product and wear the trays 1-2 hours a day for several weeks. 

How long does whitening last?

Teeth whitening results can last as long as 2-3 years, although some patients notice stains return in about 6 months. Ultimately, results will depend on your dental hygiene, lifestyle, and the natural shade of your teeth. 

To prolong the results, be sure to brush and floss daily and avoid stain-producing foods and drinks. Acidic foods, as well as dark-colored items - like red wine and coffee - are some of the most common culprits for dental stains.

Contact Dr. Cellars Today

Ready to enjoy a sparkling, celebrity smile? Learn more about your whitening options and which one is more suited to your needs. 

Contact our office today to set up your consultation. You can make an appointment online or call our Huntington Beach, CA, office at (714) 848-4247.

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