So, you’ve made the big decision. No, not the one to get a new job or get married, but to do teeth whitening. Good move, my friend.
It’s no secret that in today’s world, white teeth imply health, success, and vibrancy. Your smile is the first impression you give people, and to be honest, it’s the best accessory you can wear.
If you feel good about the way your teeth look, you’ll smile bigger which creates an image of happiness. Who doesn’t want that? My name is Dr. Desiree Yazdan and I am a cosmetic dentist in Newport Beach, CA.
I’ve become an expert in the field of dentistry. In southern Orange County, the norm is for my patients, especially women, to have teeth whiter than the whites of their eyes. Having women come to me with the desire to have their smiles be bright and healthy has made me become creative on how I can get them to achieve their goals safely and effectively. If you’re thinking of whitening your teeth, there are a few things you should know before doing it.
Keep scrolling for my advice on how to prepare for doing a whitening treatment. Plus, shop the best whitening mouthwashes for a brighter, healthier smile!
Teeth whitening products all have different strengths. Whether it’s a strip from the drug store like Crest 3D whitening strips, a gel for your bleach trays, or a treatment at your dental office, the products all vary.
Teeth whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide, or a compound that breaks down into hydrogen peroxide, like carbamide peroxide. They are designed to remove surface staining and debris. They all work through the same mechanism of action, but the strength of hydrogen peroxide varies in each of these products.
The products in a drug store, such as Crest whitening strips, range between one and five percent, bleaching gel that you pick up at your dental office to take home usually is about 14 percent, and a professional teeth whitening treatment inside of a dental office is usually 25 percent. So you could see from the strength of the whitening product alone, the most effective method would be to have your teeth whitening professionally inside a dental office.
Teeth whitening does not damage your teeth. As long as the products are being used properly, they are incredibly safe. The active ingredients temporarily open pores in your teeth and lift out the stains. After each whitening session, the teeth naturally rehydrate and the pores close.
It takes 48 hours for the pores of your teeth to close after any teeth whitening procedure. That means you should stay away from food and drinks that are known to cause staining. Examples include coffee, tea, and that glass of red wine you’ve probably been craving!
Sensitivity is normal and everyone has a different level of sensitivity after the treatment. Since your teeth are unique to you, it’s impossible to predict the degree of sensitivity and pain. Some people can become very sensitive, while others experience no discomfort at all.
Just remember that it’s normal to have sensitivity after any teeth whitening procedure. Additionally, the sensitivity should not last more than 48 hours. There are some ways to help reduce this sensitivity. Some treatments include a desensitizing gel like amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP), which can be applied before and after the whitening procedure. If you are whitening your teeth at home, you can rinse with a fluoride rinse before and after your treatment.
A commonly used on is ACT, and you can pick it up at any drug store. You can use toothpaste that has fluoride in it for 1-2 weeks prior to your treatment to help reduce sensitivity. A well known fluoridated toothpaste that can be picked up at any drug store is sensodyne. And, if all else fails and your teeth are sensitive, try taking some advil.
If you are pregnant or nursing you should not have your teeth whitened Although there has no evidence that teeth whitening procedures can cause fetal damage, if you are pregnant or nursing, I recommend steering away from teeth whitening procedures.
It may be tempting to whitening your teeth when your pregnant or nursing, but it’s always better to be safe.
Whitening does not last forever. It doesn’t matter how much you invest in a teeth whitening procedure, it’s only a matter of time before your teeth will be ready for a touch-up. If you are constantly eating and drinking foods that cause staining to your teeth, then the effects of the whitening treatment will go away much more quickly.
Some tips to remember if you are a heavy coffee or tea drinker would be to drink your coffee or tea with a straw. This way there will be less staining molecules that come into contact with your teeth. Or, drink your coffee or tea iced. Iced drinks are typically more diluted, which means less staining molecules on your pearl whites!
Crowns, fillings, and veneers don’t whiten. Before you invest in any teeth whitening products or procedures, be sure that you don’t have a mouth full of crowns, veneers and fillings. These types of restorations don’t change colors. If you notice that your restorations are stained, let your dentist know because the stains can usually be polished out. But adding bleaching products onto the surface of those restorations will not remove the staining.
A professional teeth whitening treatment inside a dental office is better than any over the counter product. It’s not just about the prescription strength bleach you get inside the dental office that makes it the best, it also has to do with the way the bleach is delivered. For starters, when you have your teeth whitening inside a dental office, your tissues are isolated from the bleach. If you didn’t know, the bleach products can burn your tissues.
So isolating the tissues greatly reduces the risk of damage from the bleach. Additionally, the bleach that’s applied won’t be contaminated by your saliva, which will mean that your results will be more effective. When you use bleach trays at home, or white strips, often times your saliva gets in the way and dilutes the bleach, causing the effects of the whitening to be even less significant. Always remember that when it comes to your teeth, the difference is in the details.
Just like computer hacks, there are hacks to prolong the effects of whitening. I’m not talking about the old tricks of brushing your teeth with a mixture of lemon juice and baking soda. That’s definitely not recommend because that can actually damage your enamel due to the abrasive nature of baking soda combined with the acid of the lemon juice.
There is no roadmap to have whitening last forever, but there are a few guidelines you can follow to upkeep your treatment. For example, make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly, get your teeth cleaned professionally every 3-6 months, rinse with water after you eat or drink teeth staining foods (i.e. coffee, tea, ketchup etc.) And please, if you smoke — quit. Stains caused by cigarettes are almost impossible to remove.
Another, often overlooked tool to whitening maintenance is to use an electric toothbrush. A manual toothbrush can damage the teeth if used incorrectly (too much scrubbing, mainly). This is where an electric toothbrush comes in. An electric toothbrush like Quip can clean your teeth a million times better than a regular toothbrush.
Beware of kiosks at malls and local shopping centers that offer teeth whitening procedures. Staff running these kiosks often have no healthcare training and no license. Yet, they are dispensing chemicals that could permanently affect your teeth and gums.
They do this by having the consumers themselves place the products in their own mouths, thereby never entering the mouth and claiming to not be performing a dental procedure. The staff members do not have the appropriate knowledge of teeth, they don’t have the appropriate training and understanding to work with these products, nor can they follow up if there are any issues after the procedure. Bottom line: be wise — it is your mouth.
With all this said, there are few dental procedures that bring instant gratification the way teeth whitening does. That’s why it’s so popular. If you are interested in having a brighter, whiter smile I encourage you to do your own research and see what teeth whitening methods are right for you. For more information, you can check out my website at www.DrYazdan.com or find me on Instagram, @DrYazdan. I’m on Instagram a lot and am always sharing the best tips and tricks for your health.
Dr. Yazdan transforms smiles at the Center for Reconstructive & Cosmetic Dentistry in Newport Beach, CA. Contact us to schedule your consultation today.