What to Know Before Your Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Appointment
Did you know that cosmetic teeth whitening services are one of the most popular dental procedures?
This should come as no surprise considering that three out of five people wish they had whiter teeth. Furthermore, 70% of people feel insecure about the appearance of their smile.
But why are white teeth so desirable?
Well, it is mostly about perception. Having pearly white teeth is a sign of a healthy mouth. Additionally, we perceive people with white teeth to be more attractive, more successful, and even more intelligent. One study even concluded that 73% of people were more likely to trust someone who had an attractive smile!
Professional teeth whitening services are a quick and easy way to achieve that brighter smile. Many dental offices offer cosmetic teeth whitening – but there are some things you should know before going in for your appointment.
1. Make Sure You Qualify for Teeth Whitening Services
While teeth whitening is a safe procedure, it is not recommended for everyone. Some factors that would immediately disqualify you from this service would be:
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- You are under the age of 16
- You are allergic to whitening ingredients like hydrogen peroxide
It is highly recommended that you schedule a checkup with your dentist before your teeth whitening procedure. Any cavities or plaque buildup could interfere with your results, so these will need to be taken care of first.
Additionally, it is not recommended that you get teeth whitening if you have any periodontal disease such as tooth decay, gingivitis, gum disease, or exposed roots. Teeth whitening is gentle, but it can irritate any sensitive areas and make matters much worse.
The cause of your discoloration could disqualify you from teeth whitening, too. Cosmetic whitening only corrects external stains, not intrinsic ones. If your teeth are discolored due to genetics, medications, injury, or exposure to fluoride, cosmetic teeth whitening services will not help. There are other options to address these types of discoloration that you can discuss with your dentist.
Finally, if you have any dental implants or veneers on your teeth, you will need to discuss options with your dentist. Traditional whitening treatments will not change the shade of the porcelain used on dental implants like crowns. So, it will not match the shade of the rest of your teeth after the treatment.
2. Professional Teeth Whitening Services Won’t Hurt Your Teeth
Many people wrongly assume that teeth whitening weakens your teeth by bleaching the exterior layers. While some treatments (such as at-home methods) can cause hyper-sensitivity if not used as directed, professional whitening will not impact the health of your teeth.
Cosmetic teeth whitening uses hydrogen peroxide to gently bleach out stains from the enamel. This is a highly concentrated form that is much stronger than what you can get at the drug store. This solution is applied as a gel or paste to the teeth. Oftentimes, dentists will use LED lights to speed up the chemical reaction in the whitening solution for faster, better results.
The reason why peroxide is used for teeth whitening is that it is easily absorbed into the teeth without harming the natural enamel. Although enamel is very strong, it has lots of little holes that makes it absorb liquid like a sponge. Hydrogen peroxide gets into these small holes and cleans out stains caused by foods, liquids, or even tobacco.
3. How to Prep for Teeth Whitening Services
In the weeks leading up to your teeth whitening appointment, it is best to avoid anything that could discolor your teeth even more. The majority of stains on your teeth are caused by food, beverages, and lifestyle habits.
Coffee, tea, soda, red wine, and dark fruit juices are the common culprits of teeth discoloration. Some foods can cause stains, too, such as tomato sauces, soy sauce, some fruits and berries, and artificial dyes.
You should also prep your teeth by keeping up with good dental hygiene before your appointment. On the day of your appointment, gently brush your teeth and try to avoid irritating your gums. Also, stick to drinking water and eating non-acidic foods so your teeth will be ready for the whitening solution.
4. Be Prepared for a Comfortable Professional Procedure
Teeth whitening services are quick and easy. They generally should last between one to two hours and should not be uncomfortable or painful at all. However, if you are part of the 75% of adults who experience a bit of anxiety while visiting the dentist, you can alleviate some of your fears by knowing exactly what to expect.
First, your dentist may lightly clean your teeth to remove any plaque so the peroxide can fully soak in. Next, a lip retractor may be inserted to help keep your mouth open comfortably without hurting your jaw.
If you have sensitive gums, you can have a dental dam or gauze attached to protect your gum, mouth, and cheeks from the whitening peroxide.
The dentist will then apply the hydrogen peroxide gel or paste to the teeth and turn on the laser or LED light that is faced towards your teeth. This solution is left on for 20 to 30 minutes (depending on the desired results and solution strength).
It is recommended that you stay as still as possible during this time. If you move around too much, this could cause uneven bleaching or move the protective coatings. Just sit back and relax!
5. What Do You Do After the Teeth Whitening Service
You will notice that your teeth are whiter right away – but you might also notice they are more sensitive, too. This is quite common for the first few weeks after the teeth whitening services and the sensitivity may continue with regular whitening. Your dentist will likely suggest you switch to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
For the first 24 hours after your treatment, it is best to avoid staining foods and drinks like coffee, tea, or red wine. Steer away from acidic foods like citrus as well, since this could cause additional sensitivity issues.
To achieve the best results, you might want to consider changing some of your lifestyle habits that contribute to dental discoloration. Smoking and chewing tobacco are one of the leading causes of yellowing teeth. It is highly recommended to give up smoking after whitening your teeth.
You should also continue to limit staining foods and drinks from your diet and follow an oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly will help to limit plaque build-up, which can make your teeth appear more yellow.
Finally, be sure to book a follow-up appointment for your next teeth whitening service. For optimum results, you should have your teeth whitened every three to six months.
Having a bright, healthy-looking smile with whiter teeth can give you a real confidence boost. But you can feel even better knowing that teeth whitening treatments from dental professionals are quick, easy, and not harmful to your dental health.
If you are interested in booking a whitening treatment or learning about other dental procedures, schedule an appointment with Jones & Copeland Smiles online today.
We offer a variety of dental services from dental implants to Invisalign and cosmetic enhancements in the Flowery Branch, GA area. Reach out today to learn more!