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Get a Brighter, Whiter, Healthier Smile


Dr. Emily Dimitroff

Why Teeth Whitening Might be Right for You

We all want a brighter smile. When brushing, regular check-ups and lifestyle changes just aren’t enough, teeth whitening is a safe, effective solution to bring back your pearly whites. Based on the questions I’ve received over the years, here’s everything you want to know about teeth whitening.

Is professional whitening better than home whitening?

At-home whitening kits usually contain carbamide peroxide. We use concentrated, prescription-only hydrogen peroxide. Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits usually only lighten teeth 1 to 2 shades. Whitening that’s prescribed – the kind available at Konikoff Dentistry – can whiten teeth 3 to 4 shades or more, depending on the teeth’s initial discoloration. Because of the concentration, we can use less product and get better results.

One issue I hear a lot about with home whitening kits is discomfort and gum irritation. We make custom trays that fit only your teeth so they’re comfortable, and we make sure the whitening product stays off your gums to avoid irritation.

How long does teeth whitening last?

It can last from 1 to 3 years, depending on how many stains you’re reintroducing to your teeth. Personally, I haven’t had to do it in the past 5 years. It all depends on each person’s unique habits.

Will my teeth be sensitive after teeth whitening?

You may not want to drink a tall glass of ice cold water right after you get your teeth whitened, but sensitivity symptoms typically subside within 48 hours.

Is teeth whitening at a dentist similar to whitening toothpaste?
Whitening toothpaste works in a totally different way. Since the toothpaste has an abrasive that scrubs away at surface stains, but it doesn’t go any deeper. So with teeth whitening, the effect reaches all the way to the dentin, which is beneath the surface of the teeth.

Does whitening change the color of my veneers or crowns?

Nope. Those materials won’t whiten, but your natural tooth structure will.

Does insurance cover teeth whitening?

Unfortunately, no. Because teeth whitening is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not cover by insurance. I find that looking and feeling your best are always worth the cost.

Does teeth whitening work for everyone?

The hue of teeth that are in the yellow realm are the best cases for whitening. This is because these stains are typically from food, smoking, coffee, tea, etc. There are certain cases where teeth whitening will not work. Gray teeth, for example, are difficult. Sometimes trauma can cause a tooth to change colors. Consequently, these types of teeth don’t whiten well. There are also cases of speckled teeth (ex: fluorosis, “scars from braces,” or Tetracyclin staining) which don’t whiten very well. In that case, you would want to look into veneers or crowns. Which option works best depends on the situation of your tooth or teeth.

If you want to know more about whitening, just ask. We are so happy to help. We offer teeth whitening at each of our eight Konikoff Dentistry locations, and accept all major insurance. Want a more radiant smile? Make an appointment today and experience the Konikoff difference.

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