Many people use retail products to whiten their smile, but this is rarely a good idea. Without professional teeth whitening, you can damage your teeth and gums or end up with results that are uneven or make your teeth appear worse.
Everyone will need different amounts of preparation before having any whitening services. If you do not have any major cosmetic or restorative needs, your dentist will want you to have a cleaning first. The amount of cleaning will be contingent upon how much tartar buildup you have. It is necessary to have your teeth cleaned first so any whitening services will produce even results and your dentist can see the true color of your teeth. Sometimes discoloration can be the result of staining that would easily be removed with cleaning or tartar removal. If you have more significant dental needs, these should be resolved before whitening. You may need cavities filled or you plan to have veneers, implants, or bridges. Once these services are performed, it will be easier to try and achieve a consistent color across your natural teeth and any cosmetic services.
Having a consultation with your dentist is important so you can discuss what you want to achieve and your dentist can give their opinion. Sometimes people have unrealistic goals for whitening, which can include believing they can achieve a bright-white smile without veneers or not realizing their goals can make their smile look unnatural.
There are different types of whitening services, and what is performed may be dependent on what is available at your dentist office or what fits in your budget. The easiest and least expensive type is whitening trays provided by your dentist. During the process, you place the gel into the whitening trays and fit the trays over your teeth for the recommended time. Whitening trays may take longer to achieve the results you want, but they can be done in the privacy of your home, at your convenience.
Laser whitening treatments require more in-office time, but the results are more precise. During the treatments, your dentist places hydrogen peroxide gel directly on your teeth, then uses a laser to activate the product. One of the major advantages of laser whitening is the precision. Since your dentist can carefully apply the product to your teeth, there is less risk of gum irritation. Precision also makes it easier to achieve an even result and match surrounding dental work. After a whitening session, there may be specific teeth that need more whitening and subsequent treatments can target those areas.
Maintenance involves subsequent treatments to maintain the whiteness of your smile and what you do not minimize future discoloration. Your dentist may recommend follow-up whitening services at regular intervals, such as yearly. This provides a good balance between maintaining the color of your teeth and not destroying the enamel. What you eat and drink, and other lifestyle choices can have the most dramatic impact on whether you maintain your whiter teeth. For various health and dental reasons, it is always recommended that you quit smoking. At a minimum, if you continue to smoke, try rinsing your mouth with water to reduce the amount of residue that remains on your teeth and contributes to staining. Similarly, brushing, rinsing, or chewing sugar-free gum after consuming commonly staining foods and beverages can minimize their staining effect.
The oral hygiene products you use can keep staining at bay. Any products that reduce tartar buildup can keep your smile whiter purely because the buildup reduces the whiteness of your teeth. Talk with your dentist about any retail products that are used for whitening, since it is not always advisable to use them. If your dentist is okay with you using whitening toothpaste or mouthwash, they may recommend certain products or you not use them daily to prevent irritation or damage to your teeth and gums.
When you want to whiten your teeth, the process requires multiple steps to achieve the ideal results. Professional whitening will not only improve your results but also reduce the chances of damage that can harm your teeth and gums. Reach out to a cosmetic dentist to learn more.