Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening Specialist
Are you ready for a “smile transformation”? When you look in the mirror, do you see yellow, brownish, discolored teeth? Teeth whitening is a simple, in-office procedure that removes tooth “wear and tear.” Dr. Patricia Van Kooten, DMD, at Lighthouse Family Dentistry in Monterey, California, specializes in family and cosmetic dentistry; she can change your smile from dull to dazzling! To discuss your options for a brighter, whiter smile, call the office, or request your appointment online today.

Teeth Whitening Q & A

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a procedure that uses a hydrogen peroxide bleach solution to remove stains and discoloration from your teeth.

Why are my teeth darker than they used to be?

There are many reasons why teeth change color. Over time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a number of reasons:

  • Drinking dark beverages such as coffee, red wine, and colas
  • Using tobacco, which contains tar and nicotine. Tar is a dark color, and the nicotine in cigarettes can cause teeth to turn yellow.
  • Aging. As we age, the outer layer of enamel experiences wear, and the underlayer of the tooth, which is more yellow, may appear.
  • Taking certain medications. Chemotherapy and radiation near the jaw may discolor teeth, along with certain prescribed pills such as antibiotics.

What happens during the teeth whitening procedure?

Teeth whitening is accomplished in only one office visit. Dr. Van Kooten applies a gel or shield to protect your lips and gums. She then applies the hydrogen peroxide gel, which stays in place for three 15-minute periods, for a total of 45 minutes. At the same time, she also activates a special light that helps remove stains and any dark areas on the teeth. While the procedure takes place, you can relax in the chair, listen to music, or take a power nap!

How do I keep my teeth white?

Dr. Van Kooten gives you a touch-up kit to use at home that includes special custom-fitted trays.

Certain habits most likely contributed to your tooth discoloration. A good mantra to follow is, “Everything in moderation!” That includes drinking dark-colored beverages. Where tobacco is concerned, Dr. Van Kooten recommends quitting. Tobacco stains teeth even after you’ve undergone whitening treatment. Be vigilant in brushing, flossing, and using an antiseptic mouthwash to help prevent stains in the first place, and be sure to schedule regular appointments with Dr. Van Kooten to help you maintain your beautiful smile.

Dr. Van Kooten also offers the option of bleaching at home using custom trays that are fabricated at the office. You can take the trays and solution with you and bleach your teeth in the privacy of your home. At-home whitening takes repeated treatments, whereas when it’s done in the office, it’s finished in one hour, giving you a dazzling new smile.