There are many products and techniques available for patients who want to achieve a brighter smile, and with so many options available, it can be difficult to choose the method that is right for you. The best way to begin any teeth-whitening regimen is to schedule an appointment and talk to Dr. Eric Yao about if you are the right candidate for teeth whitening.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
Tray bleaching is a type of professional whitening that uses custom-made trays and whitening gel only available through Dr. Yao and other dentists. The whitening gel is placed in custom-fitted trays that fit perfectly over your teeth. As the peroxide in the gel breaks down, hydroxyradicals help whiten stained teeth. Unlike strips, this process whitens all your natural teeth and may contain ingredients intended to provide maximum comfort. At-home professional tray whitening generally takes ten to 14 days, although you may notice results in as little as three to five days.
Things to Know Before You Whiten Your Teeth
- You should not whiten your teeth if you have cavities. Make sure to consult with Dr. Yao if you would be a good candidate for teeth whitening.
- Teeth Whitening might be sensitive to some people. During the whitening process, it is completely normal for sensitivity to occur. The way the teeth respond to the whitening treatment at home or in the office varies by individuals. You can’t predict how sensitive you’ll be. The discomfort tends to be temporary though. The reason for the sensitivity is because the teeth become temporarily dehydrated during whitening which reduces their ability to insulate the nerve from changes in temperature. Sensitivity usually will disappear 12-36 hours after whitening.
- Caps(crowns), fillings, and veneers will not be whitened.
- Whitening is not likely to destroy your tooth enamel as long as you follow directions and don’t leave the whitener on your teeth for longer than recommended. Teeth whitening will also not damage dental work.
- Whitening won’t last forever. Your will need to touch-up at some point whether that’s months or years.
- Stains on teeth cannot be removed overnight. the whitening process can take as few as 4 days and up to several months. People with severe stains must be patient with the process and know that each whitening session removes years of stains.
- Not everyone's teeth can be perfectly white. The natural color (and genetic makeup) of an individual's teeth is set at birth. The only thing a whitening product can do is remove all the stains that have accumulated over time.
Aftercare for Teeth Whitening
Right after your teeth whitening, your teeth may be slightly sensitive. You can avoid temperatures that are too hot or too cold. You can also use a special toothpaste made for sensitive teeth in order to strengthen them against discomfort.
After you have had your teeth whitened, keep in mind that the teeth remain their most vulnerable to staining during the first 48 hours after whitening. If you want to enhance your results and lengthen the time that your teeth remain white, make sure to avoid consuming darkly-colored or richly-colored items. Some of the typical foods and drinks to avoid are tea, wine, coffee, all types of berries, cherries, beets, chocolate, dark sauces, and similarly colored items. You should also avoid smoking or using chewing tobacco. Moreover, try to avoid acidic food or drinks, such as soda, pickles, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, and others since your enamel tubules (pores) will be weakened and will open up temporarily after whitening. The weakening of surface enamel leaves your teeth more susceptible to staining and decay directly.
After 48 hours have passed, you can help maintain your whitened results by increasing your consumption of crunchy or firm vegetables and fruits, such as carrots, celery, green beans, and apples. Those foods can help to scrub and clean your teeth while you eat them, keeping them white. They promote saliva flow, which cleanses your teeth and neutralizes the acid, and the crunchiness helps to rub off any staining that hasn't set in yet. Also, remember that if you are eating darkly colored fruits and vegetables, you should rinse your mouth out immediately afterward so that the colors don't shade your teeth.
If you would like to learn more about teeth whitening, please contact our teeth whitening experts at the office of Dr. Eric Yao to schedule an appointment.