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Teeth Whitening Q & A 
by Kate Brayman, DDS

Teeth Whitening Q & A by Kate Brayman, DDS

When you have stained teeth, or teeth that make you feel self-conscious, it can greatly affect your quality of life. You may no longer want to smile brightly, and your self-confidence could suffer. If you are not feeling confident and relaxed, then social and professional situations can become more difficult. For instance, people you meet may think that you are unhappy or being rude, when really it’s just that you are trying to prevent others from seeing your teeth. Going to job interviews or having professional meetings can be frustrating if those who you are meeting think that you are being stand-offish. 

There’s no reason to hide your smile due to stained and discolored teeth. Dr. Kate Brayman offers Philips Zoom teeth whitening at our dental practice, Kate Brayman DDS, in New York City. The Zoom process delivers remarkable whitening in a single 45-minute session. When whitening is performed under professional dental care, you get better, longer-lasting results without risks like irritated gums.

Teeth whitening is the best solution for getting your natural smile back and making you feel more confident as you go about your daily life. It is a safe, fast, and effective way to get your teeth looking brighter and healthier. You will feel better and more relaxed knowing that you can smile without having to worry about showing the world any unsightly stains or blemishes on your teeth.

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Before & Afters

What Our Patients Say

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Why do teeth darken or turn yellow?

Teeth often get discolored from years of drinking coffee, tea, and red wine, because colored pigments in these beverages can stick to tooth enamel. They also contain tannins, which help the pigments bond to teeth.

Acidic foods and drinks, such as carbonated beverages, sports drinks, coffee, pickles, tomatoes, citrus fruit, and hard alcohol contribute to the problem by eroding enamel, which causes discoloration and makes it easier for pigments to stain your teeth.

Tobacco products contain nicotine and tar that stain teeth a yellow-brown color. Enamel also naturally wears down as you get older, and the inner portion, the root, tends to get darker, which makes teeth appear darker.

Does teeth whitening work?

Teeth whitening absolutely works, but how well it works depends on several factors. First off, you need to practice good oral care before undergoing any whitening treatment and after as well. Plus, you will need to continue to avoid those things that can stain your teeth and cause discoloration, such as coffee and red wine. Otherwise, the results can be spectacular. With Dr. Brayman’s method, it can take as little as a single visit to have noticeably whiter and healthier looking teeth. 

Do-it-yourself whitening strips have gotten extremely popular in recent years, and with good reason. They can turn your teeth white, but only to an extent. Take home whitening strips usually only cover your front teeth. That means that not all of your teeth are getting whitened. Sure, it might seem fine to only have your front teeth whitened, since people don’t generally see the back of the mouth. However, with professional teeth whitening, you can have all of your teeth looking white. Even those teeth in the back get spotted sometimes, and with professional whitening you will make sure to always be showing your best side.

Why should you see the dentist before whitening your teeth?

It’s important to get a dental checkup before using teeth whitening products, even the over-the-counter kinds. Some dental problems can affect the success of whitening, or you may have sensitivities that should be handled by a professional. For example, cavities should be treated before teeth are whitened to prevent the whitening solution from going through decayed areas and getting into the soft tissue in the center of the tooth.

You’ll need to be sure that visible discoloration is from a stain that will respond to whitening products. If tooth enamel is severely eroded, you may need a cosmetic treatment other than whitening. If you have receding gums, the exposed roots may appear yellow, but whitening won’t make them whiter.

What whitening process does Dr. Brayman use?

Visiting Dr. Braymen, a recognized cosmetic dentist for a whitening procedure has several advantages beyond getting a professional exam and cleaning prior to whitening. First, you can be sure that Dr. Brayman will protect your lips and gums so they’re not irritated by the bleaching agent. Second, the procedure used in her office – Philips Zoom – produces better results more quickly. And finally, even people with sensitive teeth should be able to tolerate the Zoom process.

When you come in for teeth whitening, Dr. Brayman explains how the process works, then begins by removing tartar and surface stains. Using a color chart or digital photography, the color of your teeth is recorded so you can compare it to the results.

The Zoom procedure uses a whitening gel together with the Zoom WhiteSpeed light, which speeds up the process by helping the bleaching agent break up stains. After 15 minutes, the gel is removed so Dr. Brayman can check the results. Most people need three gel applications, so the entire treatment only takes 45-60 minutes.

Not sure what is cosmetic dentistry and if it is right for you? Please call our cosmetic dentist office at 212-505-0295 or schedule an appointment online. We will be happy to answer all your questions.

Is laser teeth whitening safe?

The easy answer is that yes, teeth whitening is completely safe. Whitening is achieved through a bleaching agent, which may seem concerning to some people because it is a chemical product placed in the mouth. However, all products used in bleaching teeth has to meet the Seal of Acceptance guidelines from the American Dental Association (ADA). This means that the product has been deemed to be not just effective in whitening teeth, but also safe for use. Dental bleaching products must have an ADA mandated maximum level of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to be considered safe, and all products at Dr. Kate Brayman DDS meet that standard. Some at-home bleaching products can cause irritation and damage the gum and tooth enamel, but whitening that is supervised by a dentist is very safe. Currently, there are no at-home products that meet the ADA’s guidelines for the Seal of Acceptance. That said, the program is voluntary, so if a product does not have the Seal of Approval it does not necessarily mean it is unsafe. To get the seal, the manufacturer has to take a lot of time and effort to earn the seal, and some do not find it necessary to undertake that endeavour. Because teeth whitening products are not technically drugs, they are not monitored by the FDA. 

The laser itself used in laser whitening may seem like it could possibly be unsafe, but in reality it poses very little threat. The gums are covered with the rubber coating, which protects from any negative effects of the laser. Rubber shields can also protect your tongue and cheeks. Again, the procedure is always supervised by a dental professional, so you do not have to worry about anything being done incorrectly.

Does teeth whitening hurt?

Any pain that you might experience through teeth whitening would be very minor and temporary as well. The two most common side effects of teeth whitening are sensitive teeth for a short period of time during the procedure, and irritation of the gums and other soft tissue in the mouth. 

Most patients experience sensitivity near the beginning of their treatment. Irritation is often caused by mouthguards that don’t quite fit properly or cause pressure on the teeth and gums. To avoid sensitivity and irritation, make sure to notify your dentist when you start to feel them. They may be able to make some adjustments to make sure that your discomfort is decreased. They can also provide you with high-fluoride toothpaste for brushing. This will revitalize the minerals in your teeth, and protect them. Toothpaste that is designed for sensitive teeth is also a good option, as they are gentle on the nerves of your teeth, so pain signals do not reach your brain.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening will work for a certain period of time. Some people can go for up to 3 years without having to get their teeth whitened again, other than a touch-up here and there. For other people, a treatment will keep their teeth white for around 6 months. It all depends on the method used and how well the patient takes care of their teeth afterwards. Those who smoke or consume food and drink that can stain teeth will have shorter periods of white teeth. A good guideline is if a food will cause a stain on a white shirt, then it could cause stains on your teeth. Brushing regularly is also important, and using a whitening toothpaste at least twice a week will also help. Regular good dental habits such as flossing every day will keep plaque away and keep your teeth whiter for longer. 

There are some foods that you can eat, that will not cause issues with staining or damage. These include white meat, white vegetables, and clear fluids. In general, these foods are healthier as well, so there is an added bonus. 

Make sure to talk to your dental care team about touch-up appointments after your initial treatment. In some cases they may not be necessary, but it is always good to ask. These extra appointments are meant to tidy up your teeth and keep them as white as possible until your next full treatment appointment. These appointments can come in intervals of anywhere between 6 months to 2 years. If you think your teeth are starting to lose their shine at any time, then call Dr. Kate Brayman DDS for advice and for a possible touch-up. A quick consultation will determine if it is the right option for you.

Just about anyone is eligible for professional teeth whitening services, however there are some restrictions. In general, patients should already have healthy teeth that do not already have fillings. Usually yellowing teeth are the best for getting back to their white color. 

Women who are pregnant, and children under the age of 16 should avoid teeth whitening. With kids, the nerves of the teeth are enlarged until they get older, and teeth whitening can irritate the nerves and cause pain. Women who are pregnant or lactating should not have their teeth bleached as it could be harmful to the unborn child. 

Make sure that you tell your dentist about any allergies you might have. The most concerning and common allergy is to peroxide, which is the whitening agent in most whitening bleaches. If you are allergic, then you should not have a whitening procedure for your teeth. Also, people who have exposed roots or existing gum disease are not good candidates for whitening. The whitening products can leech into decayed sections of your teeth and cause sensitivity and pain. The bleach will also not work on dedicated areas and exposed roots because there is no longer any enamel to adhere to the bleach. Not only could it be painful, but it could be ineffective as well.

How much does teeth whitening cost in NYC?

How much it costs for your tooth whitening procedure will depend on what method is used, what product is applied to your teeth, and the dentist doing the procedure. It can cost anywhere between $375 and $500.

Dr. Kate Brayman can help you afford your treatment by offering several different payment options. While take-home options are much less expensive, their results can vary and they are not as reliable. We will work with most major insurance providers, however not with HMO/DMO insurance.

Major Insurance Providers Accepted

At Kate Brayman DDS, we accept most major insurance plans. Here is list of some of the plans we accept. Please contact our office if you do not see your insurance provider listed. Please note we do not participate with DMO/HMO insurance.

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