• FAQs about Teeth Whitening

    Do your yellow teeth make you feel self-conscious when you smile? If your pearly whites really aren’t that white, you have the option of brightening your smile with teeth whitening. Learn more about your options and whether teeth whitening is right for you.

    What are my teeth whitening options?

    There are many ways to make your teeth whiter, with varying degrees of effectiveness. Your choices include:

    • Whitening toothpaste (makes teeth about one shade lighter)
    • Over-the-counter whitening rinse (takes about 12 weeks to lighten teeth by about one shade)
    • Over-the-counter whitening strips and trays (lightens teeth by two to three shades)
    • Prescription-grade whitening trays (Zen Dental Center offers Philips Zoom NiteWhite take-home whitening trays to lighten teeth by three or more shades)
    • In-office teeth whitening (Zen Dental Center also offers Philips Zoom in-office teeth whitening to lighten teeth by up to eight shades in just 45 minutes)

    We recommend a combination of in-office teeth whitening and three weeks of at-home tray whitening to lighten your smile by an average of 11 shades!

    Does in-office teeth whitening work for everyone?

    Yellowed teeth respond best to any form of teeth whitening. Brownish-colored stains react less effectively, and blue-gray staining caused by tetracycline may require several in-office treatments or six months of home treatments to achieve the desired results.

    Grayish, purple-hued or very dark stains may not be treatable with teeth whitening. In these cases, you may want to brighten your smile with veneers, bonding or crowns.

    How long do the effects of teeth whitening last?

    Whitening is not permanent, but you can prolong the effects of in-office whitening up to a year or more by following these tips:

    • Quit smoking.
    • Avoid foods and beverages that stain your teeth, including coffee, tea, wine, soda, acidic foods, candy and dark-colored berries.
    • Brush your teeth (or at least rinse with water) immediately after consuming stain-causing foods and drinks.
    • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss at least once.
    • Use whitening toothpaste once or twice a week to help maintain the effects of in-office whitening.

    Is teeth whitening safe? What are the risks?

    Many prescription-grade and in-office whitening products have received the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, including the products available at Zen Dental Center. They don’t damage tooth enamel, existing fillings or tooth nerves. Just be aware that the ADA does not approve any over-the-counter whitening products.

    While rare, the most likely side effects of teeth whitening include temporary tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. To reduce these problems, try these tips:

    • Wear whitening trays twice a day for half the allotted time.
    • Skip whitening for a couple of days.
    • Use toothpaste made for sensitive teeth.

    Does insurance cover the cost of teeth whitening?

    No. Teeth whitening is considered cosmetic, so most dental insurance plans don’t cover the cost.

    Ready to brighten your smile? Contact Zen Dental Center at 206-324-1100 to schedule an in-office teeth whitening appointment today!

  • Eating with Dentures

    The decision to get dentures doesn’t just improve your smile – it also opens the door to eating all your old favorites, like chewy steak, crisp corn on the cob and gooey pastries. But something unexpected might be setting you back: chewing with your dentures feels different than before, and your mouth reacts to this “foreign object” by producing more saliva.

    These problems will subside after a little while, but in the meantime, use these tips for eating with dentures so you can confidently join your friends for all-you-can-eat ribs.

    • Prepare for temporary loss of flavor: Your brain is focused on your new dentures, which can overpower the signals it receives from your taste buds about the food you’re eating. Once you get used to your dentures, your mind will turn its attention back to your taste buds, and flavors should return to normal.
    • Use caution with hot foods and drinks: New dentures can make it difficult to sense hot temperatures, so be careful not to burn your mouth on a steaming bowl of soup or cup of coffee.
    • Hold off on the steak for now: There’s no doubt you can eventually enjoy any food you want, but eat soft items for starters, such as pudding, eggs, cooked vegetables, fish and ground meat.
    • Ease into chewier foods: When you feel ready to try something like steak, cut your bites into extra small pieces to make chewing easier.
    • Divide and conquer: Separate the contents of each bite so you chew half on the right side and half on the left. This keeps the pressure even on both sides of your dentures.
    • Try denture adhesive: If your dentures don’t feel secure while eating, talk to your dentist about using adhesive. Your two primary options include paste and powder, either of which may work well for you.

    Zen Dental Center is your home for custom-fit removable dentures. This could be your best option if tooth implants aren’t right for you. Whether you need full dentures or partial dentures, we’ll outfit you with the restorative dental products you need to smile confidently and enjoy the foods you love. Our custom-fit options ensure a comfortable appliance tailored precisely for your mouth. If for some reason you ever require a denture adjustment or repair, we also provide these services at our Seattle office.

    To learn more about our restorative dentistry options, or to schedule a consultation, please contact Zen Dental Center by calling 206-324-1100 today.