Professional Tooth Whitening: What to Expect During the Procedure and Post-Treatment Care

man having teeth whitening by dental uv whitening devicedental assistant taking care of patienteyes protected

Among the myriad of options, professional teeth whitening stands out as a safe, effective, and immediate solution. But what exactly can you expect from this procedure?

Teeth whitening is simpler than it sounds. Your dentist uses a peroxide solution to bleach your teeth, lightening their colour by several shades. This process dislodges the particles that stain your teeth and make them yellowish. But before you sit in that dentist chair, it’s essential to know what the procedure involves.

Benefits of Professional Tooth Whitening

Investing in professional tooth whitening is a beneficial move for many people who choose it.

Achieving Brighter, Whiter Teeth

Professional tooth whitening can be a very effective cosmetic dentistry procedure. By using peroxide solutions, your dentist can bleach your teeth, giving them a whiter, brighter appearance. It’s considered a less invasive process compared to other methods, and in fact, it provides you with instant changes. 

Long-Lasting Results

Sure, over-the-counter whitening products are widely available. But, they often don’t provide the long-lasting results you seek. This is where professional tooth whitening shines. When you opt for a professional treatment, you’re likely to see your teeth stay white for an extended period, given that you perform proper at-home care and regular visits to your dentist.

Also, there are some things you can do post-treatment to maximize the longevity of your pearly whites. Some of these practices are using tooth sensitivity toothpaste and avoiding foods and beverages that can stain your teeth. Red wine, coffee, dark cola, and sauces are some of the culprits. With these aftercare measures, you can maintain the newly achieved whiteness of your teeth for best results.

Preparing for Professional Tooth Whitening

Professional tooth whitening can enhance your smile by eradicating stubborn stains and discolouration. But before you begin on this adventure, it’s paramount to understand how the process unfolds. 

Consultation with a Dentist

Before you set your foot into the teeth whitening experience, you’ll undertake a consultation with your dentist. There are a few checkboxes on the list that’ll determine if you’re a suitable candidate for this procedure. Existing oral health conditions like tooth decay, gum disease, or having dental restoration treatments like crowns or veneers may influence your eligibility. The bleaching agents used in the whitening procedure can exacerbate certain dental health problems or they may simply fail to whiten restorative materials found in crowns or veneers.

It also doesn’t come as a surprise that some people may exhibit allergies to whitening substances such as hydrogen peroxide. Other contraindications are pregnancy and breastfeeding. The aim of the consultation isn’t purely to determine if you’re a viable candidate, but to ascertain the extent of treatment necessary to achieve your whitening goals.

human teeth before and after whitening

Understanding the Procedure

Professional tooth whitening is a quick and relatively simple process. It’s worth mentioning that to achieve optimal results, you’ll need to begin with a plaque-free smile. So brush and floss thoroughly before your treatment. If it’s been a while since your last dental cleaning, you might need to check that box off before getting your treatment.

During the procedure, your dentist will protect your gums with a rubber dam or light-cured resin material to prevent irritation from the bleaching agent. You’ll also wear protective glasses to shield your eyes. A special light or heat source might then be used to enhance the action of the whitening agent as your dentist applies it to your teeth.

During the Professional Tooth Whitening Procedure

Professional tooth whitening aims to effectively lighten or remove tooth discolouration providing you with a brighter smile. The procedure typically involves the application of a whitening agent, usually a form of peroxide, and may include the use of a curing light or laser. Understanding the steps of your tooth whitening journey is essential in setting realistic expectations and ensuring the best possible outcome.

Application of Whitening Agents

Before the whitening procedure starts, steps are taken to optimize your safety and treatment outcome. To prepare your mouth, a dentist will place a rubber or plastic prop to keep your mouth open and apply a protective gel or rubber shield onto your gums to prevent any irritation associated with agent exposure. You’ll also have to wear protective glasses, shielding your eyes from potential harm linked to the light sources used in some procedures.

Next, the dentist applies the whitening agent – typically a form of peroxide – onto the surface of your teeth. Be aware that professionals use a higher strength bleaching gel compared to the solution offered in take-home kits. This professional strength formula allows for faster and more visible results. Some products may require reapplication depending on the degree of discolouration.

Monitoring Progress

During the professional tooth whitening procedure, whitening agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are left on your teeth for approximately 30 to 60 minutes to work their magic. If the product you are using requires a curing light or laser to activate the peroxide, that step will be integrated at this stage. These light sources work by heating up the gel, enhancing its whitening properties and activating change on the stain molecules situated on your teeth.

Do remember your comfort is critical. If at any stage during the application you feel uncomfortable or experience sensitivity, your dentist can advise and intervene if necessary. Although side effects like increased sensitivity to temperature or gum irritation are possible, they can be managed effectively with your dentist’s help.

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Aftercare Tips for Long-lasting Results

The journey to whiter teeth doesn’t end at the dentist’s office. After professional teeth whitening, there are some measures you can take to maintain the results longer.

Avoiding Staining Foods and Drinks

After your teeth whitening treatment, your enamel pores are open, making them more receptive to stains. For about a week, it’s best to refrain from substances that stain your teeth.

Here’s a list of some foods and drinks you should avoid post-procedure, according to anecdotal evidence.

  • Strongly Coloured Foods and Drinks: Soft drinks and red wine pose a major threat to your newly whitened teeth. More common items like coffee, berries and even dark chocolate can leave surface stains on your teeth.
  • Acidic Foods and Drinks: If you often consume citrus juices like lemon and orange or enjoy tomato sauces, these can lead to stains on your teeth. Pickles, being both strongly coloured and acidic, should entirely be avoided.
  • Coloured Sauces: Soy sauce, ketchup and other similarly coloured foods may cause stains.

If you think you can’t forgo the morning coffee or tea, consider using a straw. This limits their direct contact with your teeth keeping them safe from stains.

Teeth Whitening at Onyx Dental

Consistency in your dental care routine, including regular check-ups and daily oral hygiene, is indispensable. Incorporating a quality whitening toothpaste into your regimen also plays a significant role. Embracing a healthy lifestyle is key to keeping your smile looking its best. Onyx Dental offers teeth whitening as well as other cosmetic treatments and general dentistry services. Whether you’re an existing patient or new to our practice, we’d love to see you and your smile!



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