7 teeth whitening tips straight from a dentist

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Are you considering getting your teeth whitened but aren"t sure what to expect? Here"s a rundown of the entire teeth whitening process.

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Would you love to see your teeth become ten shades whiter in a single afternoon?

Professional teeth whitening offers a chance to remove discoloring caused by living your life and internal stains that no at-home kit can touch.

Whitening your teeth is now more accessible and more effective than before, but if you"re used to trying at home kits, you might not know what to expect from a professional cosmetic procedure .

Keep reading to learn how the teeth whitening process works and how to make the most of your appointment.

3 Things to Do Before Your Teeth Whitening Session

Because teeth whitening has been around for a while and is available in your local pharmacy and grocery store, we forget that it"s a cosmetic procedure. Although it"s not invasive, it does change your teeth.

Before booking your teeth whitening treatment, it is essential to visit your dentist for a check-up , ask for a full clean, and buy desensitizing toothpaste if you have sensitive teeth.

Your check-up will give your dentist time to determine whether their professional treatment is right for your stains. While stains from food, drinks, and tobacco are easily removable, some stains caused by medication or disease require more intense procedures.

By identifying the cause of your stains, your dentist can recommend the best course of action. They"ll also save you money if it turns out a professional whitening treatment won"t improve the color of your teeth.

While you"re there, get a full cleaning. An excellent clean removes the plaque and tartar that builds up in hard to reach places and is hard to remove at home. Tartar, plaque and other sediments impede the impact of the whitening treatment. Clean teeth help you make the most of every session.

Finally, if you have sensitive teeth, invest in some desensitizing toothpaste. Whitening procedures come with a common side effect of teeth and gum and sensitivity. Using a desensitizing toothpaste will mitigate some of the discomforts you would experience otherwise during the treatment.

What Happens at a Professional Teeth Whitening Appointment

The order of events depends on the kind of treatment you selected.

Like many at-home kits, most dentists provide treatment using a hydrogen peroxide gel. Dentists, however, use a much stronger version of the solution that"s only suitable for use with professional supervision.

After your dentist calls you back to your chair, they"ll examine your teeth quickly to make sure no last-minute issues popped up. Once they"re confident you"re ready, they start to prepare your mouth for the treatment.

Precautionary Steps Before Treatment

It all begins when your dentist or dental hygienist uses a lip retractor to keep your mouth open wide during the procedure. At the back of the retractor is a section that allows you to bite down and relax your jaw muscles.

They also place gauze in your mouth to keep everything dry.

With a wide-open mouth, the hygienist then sets to work to protect your gums, lips, and inner cheeks.

Your hygienist covers your gums with a rubber dam that they carefully paint on. The dam protects your sensitive gum tissue from the hydrogen peroxide to stop damage and limit sensitivity.

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They then wipe your lips and inner cheeks with a muco-protectant gel, which protects your tissues from the peroxide used in the bleaching product. Without the protectant, the whitening gel could burn your lips or cheeks, particularly as the strength of the whitening gel grows.

Beginning Your Tooth Whitening Treatment

With the barriers in place, you"re ready to start the bleaching.

One of the ways in-office treatments differs from what you buy at home is the activation of the gel. Your at-home kit will whiten removable stains very gradually. The gel used in a dentist"s office pairs with a light or laser to activate and deliver instant results.

Either your hygienist or dentist takes a brush to paint the gel on your teeth. When they finish, they will switch on the light or laser and point it directly at the gel.

You sit under the light for around 20 minutes as the light transforms the oxygen in the gel and causes it to dive deep beneath your enamel to reach your color pigments.

Don"t worry if the hygienist walks away for a minute. The light turns off automatically when it"s finished.

Continuing Your Treatment

After your 20 minutes is up, the hygienist removes the bleach from your teeth. They then paint on a new coat to prepare you for a second round.

It"s likely you"ll go through three to four 20 minute rounds throughout your treatment. The exact number depends on the system chosen, the strength of the gel, and the color of your teeth now compared to the shade you want.

FAQs About Your Teeth Whitening Treatment

You will be speechless throughout your treatment, so you won"t be able to ask too many questions. We answered some of the most common questions here to help prepare you for your next appointment.

What If My Mouth guard Slips?

If the retractor that holds your mouth open moves or slips out of place, let the hygienist know immediately. They will leave you with a notepad and pencil to help you communicate during the treatment.

Don"t try to talk or move the retractor on your own. It could move some of the protective coatings or impact your treatment.

What If My Teeth Become Very Sensitive?

In some cases, patients find the sensitivity of their teeth becomes too much for them to continue to handle.

While your dentist will already have tried to mitigate the problem with toothpaste and a less abrasive gel, it still happens.

If it becomes too much, inform the hygienist. They will cut your treatment down to an appropriate number of rounds.

Can I Eat or Drink After My Treatment?

Yes, but avoid anything known for its bright color . Skip any coffee, tea, red wine, and pigmented fruits and vegetables like beets and tomatoes for 24 hours.

Are You Ready for Whiter Teeth?

Professional teeth whitening is faster and easier than at home kits, and it tackles stains those strips can"t touch.

Will our teeth whitening treatment work for you? Get in touch for a free consultation to learn more about our approach to cosmetic dentistry.