Richton Dental Care

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Professional Teeth Whitening

How can we help you?

Choosing a healthcare provider for your family is a big decision, and we respect that. 

You probably have a lot of questions about our practice, dentistry in general, and your own dental health in particular. 

No question is ever small or silly, and we welcome them here at Richton Dental Care. We will always be upfront and honest about your health and your treatment while remaining respectful and compassionate. 

We've collected a few of the questions we hear most often. If your question is answered here, fantastic! If not, or you would like more information, please call our office today or send us an email so we can help!

Professional Teeth Whitening

It depends on your overall goals and the causes and level of your staining. 

Most whitening toothpastes rely on mild abrasives to "scrub" away surface stains. One problem with this, however, is that most problematic staining doesn't occur on the surface. Stains from food and drink penetrate the enamel and become trapped beneath it, and whitening toothpastes and other over-the-counter remedies simply can't touch these stains. Even worse, the abrasives in whitening toothpastes can actually harm the enamel, making the yellowish dentin beneath more apparent. Plus, this enamel destruction contributes to sensitivity.

If you're considering using a whitening toothpaste, we strongly recommend that you discuss your options with us first. We are happy to recommend a product that can help you remove surface stains without damaging your precious enamel. We can also discuss other options to improve the appearance of your smile, especially if your staining goes deeper. Professional teeth whitening products will actually "flush" out stains that are trapped beneath the enamel to give you the beautiful, healthy, youthful appearance you are seeking. 

Call our practice today to schedule a cleaning or a consult with Dr. Nick Darby and find out which products will help you get the results you are seeking.

After whitening is done, it is normal for the teeth to become slightly darker and reach a stable color about one week after. While many dentists prefer to do "touch-ups" or whitening when needed, Dr. Darby prefers to do regular maintenance. Much like you need to wash your car on a regular basis if you want it to always be clean and shiny, you need to do regular whitening if you want your teeth to always be at their brightest. As long as your whitening trays still fit, you can continue to wear them and put whitening gel in them. You may need to whiten between once per week to once per month to keep your pearly whites white. Dr. Darby will tailor a specific regime to your individual needs.

We offer whitening gel for purchase in our office. Your trays can be retained and reused indefinitely, as long as they fit and are in good shape. Certain lifestyle choices such as coffee consumption, red wine, tobacco use, and even colorful fruits and vegetables can quickly stain your teeth. Certain medications, even mouth rinses, can also stain your teeth. Brushing your teeth and maintaining regular professional dental cleaning appointments will help protect your smile.

Teeth whitening can make your teeth sensitive, but there are effective ways to help prevent it. For each patient that is whitening their teeth, Dr. Darby recommends a sensitivity toothpaste such as Sensodyne or Colgate Sensitive, and they both work equally well. One week before whitening, you should start brushing your teeth with one of these toothpastes and you should continue throughout and beyond the whitening process. During whitening, Dr. Darby recommends placing a small amount of the toothpaste in your tray and wearing it for 30 minutes before and 30 minutes after each whitening session.

Sometimes the occasional pain or zinger will happen in spite of your best efforts, and for this pain Dr. Darby recommends whichever over the counter pain medication you usually take to relieves headaches or muscle pain.

If sensitivity continues, try taking a day off in between treatments or leaving your trays in for a shorter period of time.


Thankfully, many people who follow these steps do not experience much discomfort with the whitening process and are thrilled with the final results.

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