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Beyond the Smile: How Do Dentists Whiten Teeth & What You Should Know

Woman with incredibly white teeth

Woman with incredibly white teeth

Curious about how dentists whiten teeth so effectively? Unlike over-the-counter products, dentists’ approach to whitening teeth involves advanced techniques and professional-grade bleaching agents tailored to each individual’s needs.

In this article, we’ll explore the secrets behind the dentist’s chair: from the types of procedures available to managing sensitivity post-treatment.

Key Takeaways

  • Professional teeth whitening methods, like custom whitening trays and power whitening treatment, use higher concentrations of whitening agents compared to over-the-counter products, providing more effective and individualised results.
  • It’s essential to assess one’s suitability for teeth whitening through a comprehensive dental check-up aimed at individuals with healthy gums and teeth, addressing any preexisting dental problems prior to treatment.
  • Maintaining teeth whitening results requires dietary modifications, consistent application of whitening gel, attention to oral hygiene and touch-up treatments, and being mindful of potential side effects such as tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

Professional Teeth Whitening Procedures

The world of professional teeth whitening offers a myriad of teeth whitening methods, each designed to give you a radiant smile that over-the-counter products, such as whitening toothpastes, can only dream of achieving. The secret lies in their higher UK approved concentrations of whitening agents and customised teeth whitening treatment plans, which ensure that each tooth gets the attention it deserves.

This is no DIY project; it requires the expertise of a dentist or a regulated dental professional to ensure safe and effective results in the professional teeth whitening process. The outcome? A smile that can light up a room, with teeth whitened to perfection through tooth whitening.

But not all professional teeth whitening processes are created equal. The two main types – custom whitening trays and power whitening treatments – offer different advantages and results. Let’s examine each method in detail.

Custom Whitening Trays

Custom Whitening Trays held in hand

Custom whitening trays are the superheroes of the teeth-whitening world. These trays, are fitted perfectly to your mouth, teamed up with 16% carbamide peroxide-based gels to combat stains and discolouration, giving you comprehensive results impossible with over-the-counter trays.

Why are custom trays more effective?

  • They provide a perfect fit for your mouth
  • They have a higher UK approved concentration of whitening agents
  • They ensure even gel distribution for consistent whitening
  • They provide a comfortable treatment experience

On the other hand, over-the-counter trays may not fit your mouth properly, leading to uneven gel application and potential gum irritation.

Despite a treatment period of up to 28 days, the ensuing results justify the time investment.

Power Whitening Treatment

Whitening solution being applied to custom whitening trays

For those looking for swifter teeth whitening, power whitening treatments are the way to go. This method synergises in-office procedures with at-home maintenance, giving you faster and superior whitening effects.

However, the treatment doesn’t end in the clinic. Dentists suggest augmenting the in-office procedure with at-home treatments, utilising custom whitening trays. This combination extends the durability of the whitened appearance for up to three to five years.

Assessing Your Suitability for Teeth Whitening

Before you start teeth whitening, a crucial first step is determining if the procedure is suitable for you. Not everyone is an ideal candidate for teeth whitening. Factors like tooth sensitivity, existing dental problems, and dental health history all come into play.

Worried about the assessment? Don’t be. Your dentist will conduct a comprehensive dental check-up to identify any issues that need to be addressed before the procedure.

Following this assessment, you’ll receive a customised treatment plan designed to give you the best possible results.

Dental Health Check

Your path to a brighter smile begins with a comprehensive dental health check by a dental hygienist. This thorough examination ensures that your teeth and gums are in good condition and ready for the whitening process.

From a visual examination, your dentist will leave no stone unturned in assessing your oral health. If conditions like gum disease or tooth decay are detected, these need to be treated before the whitening procedure can commence. This process ensures that your teeth are not only whiter but healthy as well.

Tips for Maximising Your Teeth Whitening Results which varies.

Lady showing her whitened teeth

With you now having completed treatment, how can you maintain their appearance? Maximising your teeth whitening results involves a few key steps: modifying your diet, applying the whitening gel consistently, and ordering additional gel for touch-ups.

However, results vary with

  1. Age
  2. Tooth Structure
  3. Diet and lifestyle.

Diet Modifications

The foods you consume greatly influence the sustainability of your freshly whitened smile. Certain foods and beverages are known culprits in causing tooth discolouration. These include:

  • Red wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Colas
  • Certain berries
  • Curries

Even nutritious dark-coloured foods like blueberries, blackberries, and beets can potentially stain your teeth.

However, there are also tooth-friendly foods that you can incorporate into your diet. Some examples include:

  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Strawberries
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Cauliflower

These foods not only contribute to your overall health but also help maintain the whitening effect on your teeth.

Consistent Gel Application

Consistent application of the whitening gel is paramount to achieving the best possible whitening results. When using at-home whitening trays, apply the gel to the tray and leave it in your mouth for one to two hours. However, remember to limit touch-ups to no more than two during a single period to avoid increased sensitivity.

Potential Side Effects and Risks

Though teeth whitening can result in a stunning smile, you must be aware of the potential side effects and risks involved. Teeth whitening can lead to tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, which are the two most common side effects of the treatment.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can occur during teeth whitening when peroxide-based substances penetrate the tooth enamel and dehydrates the tooth. Although this sensitivity is not permanent, it may vary from person to person and generally subsides within 24-48 hours after treatment.

This side effect can be mitigated by using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth and refraining from consuming extremely hot or cold foods and beverages for about one to three days after the whitening procedure.

Gum Irritation

Gum irritation during teeth whitening often results from overexposure to bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. This can be prevented by:

  • Ensuring controlled application of the whitening agent
  • Following product directions
  • Ensuring excess gel is wiped off the gum margins

If gum irritation does occur, rinsing with warm salt water and using over-the-counter painkillers may alleviate discomfort. Typically, irritation resolves on its own after stopping the bleaching treatment.

Caring for Your Whitened Teeth

Achieving your desired level of whiteness is only the first step in your journey to whiten teeth. Maintaining your beautiful smile demands consistent care and upkeep.

This includes diligent oral hygiene practices and occasional touch-up treatments.

Oral Hygiene Practices

A robust oral hygiene routine is key to maintaining the brilliance of your smile. Here are some essential steps to include in your routine:

  1. Brushing x 2 daily with fluoride toothpaste
  2. Daily flossing
  3. Do not rinse with water after
  4. Utilising interdental cleaning aids daily
  5. Drink lots of water

By following these steps, you can maintain a clean, healthy mouth.

Remember, regular dental check-ups, including professional cleanings, are crucial for removing surface stains and maintaining your teeth’s natural shade.

Touch-Up Treatments

Despite diligent care, the impact of teeth whitening may diminish with time. This is when touch-up treatments prove beneficial. These treatments are typically recommended when the effects of the initial whitening begin to fade, often around six months for many individuals, or when noticeable discolouration appears.

Ensuring a continuous supply of whitening gel and whitening solution, either by purchasing additional gel or subscribing to regular refills, guarantees uninterrupted touch-up treatments, preserving the brightness of your smile.

Professional teeth whitening is more than just a cosmetic treatment—it’s a journey towards a brighter smile and boosted self-confidence. From understanding the different professional procedures and assessing your suitability for the treatment to maximising your results through diet modifications and consistent gel application, every step matters.

Despite potential side effects like tooth sensitivity and gum irritation, with good oral hygiene practices and touch-up treatments, a radiant smile can be maintained. So, are you ready to embark on your teeth-whitening journey and light up the world with your smile? Contact Direct Dental today to arrange a consultation!

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