Whitening is a relatively quick, easy, and inexpensive method of improving your smile. In many cases whitening alone will give you the smile of your dreams. Many methods are available but the bleach dispensed by the dentist in custom trays has been shown to be the most effective method with no damage to your teeth.

"How white will my teeth be after whitening?"
Clinical studies show that treatments average about nine shades lighter. Results vary, of course, because everyone's teeth respond differently. In most cases, results are dramatic. The goal is to achieve your own optimal, natural whiteness. The dentist reviews the result that can be expected.

"How long will it last?"
Long-term results depend mostly on the patient. Tobacco, coffee, tea, dark soft drinks and lax attention to dental care can work against the results. Regular professional care will help maintain a new smile for up to a year.

"Is it safe?"
Yes. The procedure does not soften enamel or existing fillings. For more than 100 years, dentists safely used hydrogen peroxide, the main ingredient in the whitening gel. The dental community considers this material an effective whitening ingredient. The percentage of hydrogen peroxide used in the special gel is 15 percent, much lower than the higher 22 to 35 percent in other in-office whitening gels.

"Will my dental insurance cover this procedure?"
As with most cosmetic dental treatment, insurance will not cover the cost.

"Is this procedure for everyone?"
Just about every person seeking a lighter smile can benefit from a brighter smile, including those with severe coffee, food, tobacco or tetracycline stains. An exam before the procedure will determine promising candidates for whitening. People with a history of TMJ problems, extreme sensitivity to hot and cold food or drinks, and those with many fracture lines in teeth may not be candidates.

"Will the procedure whiten existing crowns, veneers, bondings?"
The treatment successfully removes stains from caps, veneers or bonded teeth. But a whitening treatment in general cannot change the color of crowns, veneers or bondings. A consultation with a dentist will help determine what to expect.

"Can I have this done if I am pregnant?"
While there are no known constraints for women who are pregnant, some might experience gum sensitivity. Pregnant women might wish to delay the procedure until after pregnancy.

"How can I maintain my new whiter teeth?"
Brush twice daily or after each meal. Floss daily. Use a whitening toothpaste and a soft-bristle toothbrush. Visit your dentist for regular hygiene visits and check-ups at least every six months.