So, you’ve tried at-home whitening products but haven’t quite seen the results you wanted. In that case, your dentist has more powerful products that can brighten your smile, often in just one quick visit. To help you understand what to expect before and after an in-office whitening treatment, we’ve got a quick guide to getting the pearly whites of you’ve always dreamed of.
Why didn’t my whitening products work?
If you’ve tried whitening strips, toothpastes, or other over the counter products, it’s possible your smile didn’t brighten as much as advertised. That’s because these products only lift away surface stains — any discoloration that’s penetrated deeper into the dentin (called an extrinsic stain) won’t be affected at all. Only your dentist can apply a more intensive treatment, so it might be time for you to make that appointment if you’re tired of those dingy teeth.
What’s Involved In The Procedure?
An in-office whitening procedure is completely painless and non-invasive, which always makes patients smile! However, there are several steps involved.
First, your teeth will be examined for any cavities, cracks, or other areas of decay or gum disease. These issues will need to be treated before a whitening procedure can be performed, as the issues can be exacerbated by the whitening gel. Pictures will also be taken of your teeth so your dentist can properly gauge the progress of the whitening treatment.
Once any dental issues have been taken care of, your teeth will be cleaned, and a cheek retractor will be placed in your mouth to help ensure that no part of your smile is missed. Your gums will then be painted with a resist material, so the sensitive tissue isn’t irritated by the bleaching ingredients in the gel.
Next, the whitening gel will be applied and will be left to activate for about 15-30 minutes. The gel may be taken off and reapplied another one or two times, depending on the severity of the stains and the desired shade. A bright light may be used to help activate the gel, but some treatments don’t require this.
After the treatment is over, you’ll rinse your mouth and you’ll get to see just how much your teeth have lightened up. Keep in mind that your teeth will likely darken slightly a few days after the treatment, and this is completely normal.
What Happens After The Procedure?
You may experience mild sensitivity due to the bleaching agents in the whitening gel, which will likely subside. You’ll also need to remember to brush and floss regularly, as your teeth will just stain and darken again if you don’t keep up a thorough oral hygiene regime. Even still, it’s possible your teeth will darken again over time just from natural wear and tear, or even genetics. In that case, you may need periodic whitening treatments in order to keep up your pearly whites.
An in-office whitening treatment is a quick and easy way to get a brighter smile. Under the careful supervision of your dentist, you can achieve a brightness that is several shades whiter than your teeth are now. Just keep in mind that in order to maintain these pearly brights, you’ll need to keep up your regular brushing and flossing routine, and you may have to periodically go back for additional treatments. Have you gone to your dentist for a whitening procedure? Let us know about your experience in the comments!