Brighten your smile by several shades in a single visit.
Your smile helps you express yourself and make a good first impression on new people, but its most important role is how it impacts the way you view yourself. When you truly love the way your smile looks, you’ll likely feel more self-confident, and you’ll smile more freely in public. Professional teeth whitening treatments help you regain and retain confidence in your smile by eliminating the stains that build up on them over time.
Despite being gentle and safe on your teeth, in-office whitening treatments have the ability to brighten your smile by several shades in a single treatment. Once you’ve decided to receive the treatment, you may still find yourself wondering what you can expect before, during, and after your appointment.
We want your visit to go as smoothly as possible, so we’ve provided a breakdown of what you can expect at each step of the process.
Preparing for Your Treatment
Teeth whitening treatments are relatively straightforward, but there are a few steps you should take before you whiten your teeth. If you haven’t been to the dentist in six months or more, make sure to schedule your regular checkup before you make an appointment for your in-office whitening. Just like with any other cosmetic dentistry treatment, your teeth and gums need to be healthy before you can receive it. Visiting Dr. Allred for your regular checkup ensures he can catch and treat any oral health issues early. Additionally, while you should always clean your teeth thoroughly with a good oral hygiene routine, try to really buckle down on it in the days leading up to your appointment. We actually recommend that you eat shortly before your appointment, as you won’t be able to eat during your whitening treatment. Since eating softens enamel, however, try to eat at least 30 minutes before your appointment starts and make sure to floss and brush your teeth very well before you leave for our office.
If you have dental restorations, like crowns or veneers, it’s wise to consider them before you get an in-office whitening treatment. The porcelain material of dental restorations won’t change shades along with your natural teeth. Your teeth may have yellowed since you got your crown or veneer, in which case you may want to simply bring your natural teeth back to the shade of your restoration. However, if your restoration matches the current shade of your teeth or if you wish to whiten them beyond that shade, you may want to plan to replace it after you have whitened your teeth. This prevents it from standing out as an oddly yellow tooth in comparison to your newly bright teeth.
If you have any questions about choosing a shade or how your dental restorations will look in your mouth once your teeth whitening treatment is complete, feel free to schedule a consultation with Dr. Allred at any time.
Receiving Your In-Office Teeth Whitening
Before you get started with your in-office whitening treatment, you’ll receive a professional dental cleaning to remove plaque and hardened tartar from your teeth. We do this not only because plaque and tartar stain your teeth slightly, but also because you’ll get better results from your whitening treatment if your teeth are as clean as possible beforehand. Once your teeth are clean, we’ll place gauze in your mouth to keep it dry. While the whitening gel is harmless to your teeth, it can irritate the sensitive skin of your lips, cheeks, and gums. As a result, we’ll likely use retractors to allow you to relax your jaw during the treatment while keeping the sensitive tissues in your mouth from coming into contact with the whitening solution. We also paint your gums with a protective barrier before applying the whitening gel to the front surface of your teeth.
A specialized light is used on your teeth to activate the gel so it’ll provide better, faster results. During the hour-long whitening process, you can watch TV or listen to music. Additionally, while we hear patients express concern that their whitening treatment will hurt, it’s completely painless. You may notice a slight tingling or feel a bit of warmth from the light, but it shouldn’t hurt at all! When your teeth whitening is complete, your teeth will be rinsed, and you’ll be able to head home with your revitalized smile.
Caring for Your Revitalized Smile
One of the most common side effects of in-office teeth whitening is sensitive teeth. This is a short-term side effect that should go away in a few days. In the meantime, you can use a toothpaste that’s designed to help reduce tooth sensitivity.
In addition, teeth whitening only removes existing stains from your teeth; it doesn’t protect against future stains. Thankfully, there are steps you can follow to protect your teeth from future staining and ensure they stay white for as long as possible. Be very careful about the food you eat for the first 48 hours after your treatment because your teeth will be more vulnerable to staining than usual. Avoid acidic or colorful foods in general, sticking instead to light-colored fruits and vegetables, high-calcium foods like plain white yogurt, and chicken.
Once the first 48 hours have passed, you can go back to eating colorful foods, but you should still do your best to limit foods and drinks that are known to stain teeth. This includes drinks like coffee, wine, and sodas, as well as foods like tomato sauce, blueberries, and balsamic vinegar, though you don’t have to cut these foods and drinks out completely. One way to reduce staining while still enjoying a good, dark-colored drink is to use a straw because it limits the contact the liquid has with your teeth. Brushing your teeth with whitening toothpaste and sticking to a great oral hygiene routine can also help you fight off surface stains and keep your teeth white. This means you should brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss and use mouthwash at least once a day, and visit Dr. Allred for a regular dental checkup every six months.
You’ll also have more success keeping your teeth white if you get touch-up treatments, though how often you need them depends upon your habits and how quickly your teeth are picking up new stains as a result. In general, however, we recommend getting a touch-up teeth whitening treatment once or twice a year. If you keep up with these habits, you’ll be able to ensure your teeth stay white long-term instead of just a few months.
Invest in professional teeth whitening to revitalize your smile.
In-office teeth whitening is an effective and safe way to whiten your teeth by multiple shades in a single appointment. Knowing what to expect and how to care for your smile after your treatment will help everything go more smoothly and will ensure your teeth stay white for much longer, allowing you to continue loving your smile for years to come.
If you’d like to schedule a whitening treatment, feel free to call our office at any time!