Teeth Whitening for La Jolla, Del Mar, & Pacific Beach

Teeth Whitening for La Jolla, Del Mar, & Pacific Beach

You can find over the counter teeth bleaching products in any supermarket. Although there is some evidence of these treatments’ effectiveness, visiting an experienced La Jolla dentist for teeth whitening can ensure better, more consistent results.

The team at La Jolla Family Smile Design is dedicated to cosmetic dentistry that reflects the sense of quality each one of our patients in La Jolla expects. Please contact our office today to schedule an appointment to discuss your teeth whitening options.

Types of Tooth Stains

Tooth stains are categorized as intrinsic or extrinsic. 

Extrinsic stains affect the outer layer of tooth structure called enamel. Common causes of extrinsic stains include smoking and the consumption of dark-colored foods or beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, red wine, cola). Extrinsic stains usually respond well to teeth whitening treatment.

Intrinsic stains exist on the dentin, or the hard layer of material beneath the enamel. Common causes of intrinsic tooth stains include overexposure to fluoride and the use of certain medications, such as tetracycline. It is more difficult to improve intrinsic stains, but it can be done.

In-Office Teeth Whitening

If you’ve had limited success with at-home bleaching strips or pre-fabricated trays, visiting our La Jolla office for professional teeth whitening might provide your smile the bright, healthy shine you want. We have found that Zoom Whitening tends to be an effective solution for removing stains deeply embedded in the teeth.

Tooth whitening with Zoom Whitening consists of three applications lasting about 15 minutes each, meaning you can enjoy a whiter smile in just one appointment lasting less than an hour. Other benefits of this teeth bleaching treatment include:

  • 40 percent hydrogen peroxide gel is significantly more powerful than OTC options
  • Whitening gel penetrates deep within the dentin to remove stubborn discoloration
  • Potassium nitrate reduces tooth sensitivity
  • Fluoride helps protect teeth from decay
  • Treatment is chemically activated, meaning you don’t have to sit under a hot, uncomfortable light like some other whitening systems

A member of our team will carefully apply the Zoom Whitening gel to your teeth for both applications. All you have to do is sit back and relax while treatment proceeds.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

Though Zoom Whitening reliably delivers long-lasting results, sometimes it’s necessary to touch up your smile to add extra shine. Though you could visit our La Jolla office for another whitening session, we might recommend at-home treatment for maintaining a becoming color.

Take-home teeth whitening treatment provided by one of our dentists varies from mass-produced options in several respects:

  • Depending on your needs, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is often more powerful
  • Custom trays perfectly fit the unique shape of your teeth, rather than one-size-fits-all
  • Reduced risk of sensitivity
  • Gel is formulated to discourage dehydration, keeping your smile looking natural

Our dentists will explain how often and how long you should undergo take-home teeth whitening to maintain results.

Candidates for Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening in La Jolla

In-office teeth whitening treatments are recommended for patients who are unsatisfied with the current shade of their teeth and the results achieved with over-the-counter products.

Teeth whitening is ideal for improving teeth affected by extrinsic stains. Patients with intrinsic stains on their teeth may not achieve the level of whiteness they are hoping for. Patients who have had restorative dental work such as crowns or dental implants should be aware that their prosthetics will not change color.

Whitening treatment does involve a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide, so our dentists may recommend alternative cosmetic treatments for patients with sensitive teeth and gums. If a patient has outstanding dental problems such as cavities, our dentist may also suggest addressing those issues before whitening their teeth to avoid causing additional discomfort.

Teeth Whitening FAQ

Does teeth whitening hurt?

Zoom Teeth Whitening for San Diego

Teeth whitening does not hurt, but sometimes the teeth can feel sensitive after treatment. One of the advantages of in-office, professional teeth whitening is that our team can control the concentration of the bleaching agent. If you have a history of sensitive teeth, we can adjust the peroxide in the whitening gel as needed to minimize any discomfort.

How much does teeth whitening cost?

The cost of teeth whitening varies, depending on factors such as the system and products used. For example, in-office teeth whitening is generally more expensive than take-home trays. Our team can give you more specific pricing information over the phone.

Is teeth whitening covered by insurance?

No, teeth whitening is considered an elective cosmetic treatment. Dental insurance typically does not cover the cost of teeth whitening.

How long will my whitening results last?

That depends. If you do not brush or floss regularly, and you expose your newly whitened teeth to foods and beverages that could stain (e.g., coffee, red wine, tea), your results may start to fade quickly. It is recommended you brush and floss daily, avoid tea and coffee (or drink through a straw) and visit our office annually to maintain your whitening results. An occasional touch-up might also help prolong your results.

Will teeth whitening damage my tooth enamel?

No. Studies have shown that teeth whitening products do not affect the tooth’s enamel. Millions of people have safely had teeth whitening with no side effects to their enamel.

What can I eat after teeth whitening?

Because your teeth are most susceptible to staining in the hours immediately following whitening, we recommend that you prioritize a diet without much color for the first couple days. Potatoes, pasta, white rice, chicken, turkey, and cauliflower are all good choices. Avoid bright-colored foods like fruits, sodas, wine, tomato sauce, or anything with artificial dyes.

How soon before a special event should I schedule teeth whitening?

If you have an upcoming event, like a wedding, that you would like to have your teeth looking their brightest for, our dentists typically recommend scheduling your appointment a couple weeks in advance. While the results from in-office whitening are instantaneous, you may experience sensitivity for a few days after. It’s also important to stick to a “white diet” [1] (white bread, white rice, bananas, etc.) right after bleaching your teeth, which would put a damper on enjoying what you’re eating on your big day. Planning two or three weeks ahead also allows you to schedule a touch-up appointment in case you are not satisfied with how white your teeth are after a single session.

Why should I have my teeth cleaned prior to whitening?

Teeth Whitening treatments in La Jolla

The bleaching process does not in itself remove plaque and bacteria from your teeth. Tartar buildup on your teeth can inhibit the whitening process and create an uneven tone on your teeth. Removing all particles from your teeth is the best way to ensure that your teeth have the brightest and most attractive outcome. 

What are alternative treatments to teeth whitening?

Although teeth whitening is effective, the bleaching effects are not permanent. If you would like to ensure that your teeth stay brighter white for many years without needing periodic touchups, you may enjoy the benefits of porcelain veneers, which allow you to choose the exact shade you want.

Is teeth whitening safe?

Teeth whitening is an extremely safe procedure when performed under the supervision of a dentist. Your teeth are examined prior to the cosmetic treatment to ensure that you are a good candidate for whitening. 

How is professional teeth whitening better than over-the-counter whitening products?

Simply put, a professional, in-office teeth whitening session uses a stronger bleaching agent with a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than any treatment that can be done safely at home without supervision. That makes in-office whitening the most effective option possible.

If bleaching products from the store haven’t lifted stains from your teeth, please contact La Jolla Family Smile Design today to schedule your teeth whitening appointment. We serve patients throughout the San Diego area from our office in La Jolla.