Teeth Whitening

Whitening your teeth is one of the easiest ways to improve your smile. There are many different methods for teeth whitening with varying effectiveness, ease and cost. We'd like to help you understand all of your options so you can take advantage of all the excellent benefits of teeth whitening.

Why are my teeth discolored?

External stains are the most common type of discoloration. These are commonly caused by drinking coffee/tea or smoking. These stains are generally the easiest stains to remove.

Discoloration with a yellow hue is usually a result of age. Our teeth have a softer layer of tissue called dentin under the hard outer layer of enamel. As we age, dentin darkens in color, and its hue shows through the enamel, causing the yellowish appearance. This type of discoloration also responds well to whitening.

Discoloration with a gray hue can be caused by internal factors such as tetracycline. This type of discoloration is the most difficult to whiten.

What are different options for whitening?

Professional teeth whitening can be administered using a quick procedure at our office, or we can provide custom trays and professional grade whitening agents for you to apply yourself at home. Over-the-counter whitening solutions can also be helpful, and they can be easily be obtained at most drug stores, but they are typically less effective and more time consuming. Learn more about teeth whitening options below:

  1. Professional whitening
  2. Over-the-counter whitening

Our teeth whitening comparison chart can help you decide on an option.

What are the side effects of whitening?

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common side-effect of whitening. However, this sensitivity lasts only for a few days and can be alleviated with fluoride or desensitizing gel. If sensitivity is an issue for you, we can evaluate your teeth and recommend a whitening option that suits your needs.

Whitening agents can also irritate your gums, making them white in the affected areas. This typically lasts a few hours and can be prevented by removing excess whitening gel and avoiding overfilling your custom trays.

- Krystle Lim DDS, Santa Rosa