Tooth Whitening Frequently Asked Questions

Does in-office tooth whitening work?

Yes, but with limited results. I only recommend in-office whitening if someone needs a whiter smile within a day or so—for example, for a wedding or other special event. In-office whitening does not last as long as other whitening methods. It can also create tooth and gum sensitivity in some patients and comes with a list of post-procedure instructions, like avoiding certain foods.

Does take-home whitening work?

Yes, in most cases, you’ll experience whiter teeth with our take-home whitening. Actual results vary person to person.

What are the directions for take-home whitening?

We use a variety of systems for take-home whitening. Most commonly, you’ll be given a gel with customized trays for your teeth. Inject the gel into the trays and wear them on your teeth per our instructions (anywhere between 15 minutes to overnight) for 10-14 days. After the treatment is complete, we evaluate your results and supply you with more gel for touch-up treatments as you need them.

What foods should I avoid if whitening my teeth?

For the first hour after applying a take-home treatment, we recommend that you avoid any foods or beverages that could stain your clothing (e.g., coffee, red wine) as these can also negate the whitening treatment on your teeth. If you undergo in-office whitening, we will advise you with which foods to avoid for a certain length of time.

How long does tooth whitening last?

It depends on the individual. If you drink large amounts of wine and/or coffee, for example, you may need regular touch ups to keep your teeth white. You can reduce the number of touch ups needed by drinking coffee through a straw, for example.

What do I do if my teeth hurt during or after whitening?

Post-whitening sensitivity is common, but it’s generally temporary and treatable. If you experience tooth sensitivity, we recommend that you use Sensodyne toothpaste or a prescription strength fluoridated toothpaste such as Prevident 5000. Avoid acidic foods and beverages, and take ibuprofen or Tylenol as needed. Avoid whitening for a few days until the discomfort goes away. If the sensitivity persists or becomes severe, please reach out to our office.

For more information and answers to questions about tooth whitening, call our office at 212-882-1102, or book your appointment online.