Having whiter teeth can dramatically improve your appearance and confidence. Though there are a number of ways to achieve brighter teeth, professional teeth whitening is often the quickest and most effective method.
If you’ve recently had your teeth professionally whitened, congratulations! You are on your way to a brighter smile. However, the process isn’t quite finished yet. You should follow some simple post-teeth whitening tips to maintain your teeth. Remember, you play a significant role in the whiteness of your smile.
If you’re planning on whitening your teeth, this article is for you, too. It will help you decide if it is right for you and give you a clearer picture of what to expect from the process. Keep reading for some post-teeth whitening treatment tips, a quick background on this popular dental procedure, what to avoid and more.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a popular dental procedure that uses bleaching agents to help remove or reduce stains and discolouration from your teeth. The main ingredient in most teeth whitening products is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaching agents break down the molecules that cause staining and discolouration, making your teeth appear brighter and whiter. There are different methods to have your teeth whitened, including:
This is performed by a dentist or certified dental professional in a clinic. It usually takes about an hour, and you can see the results immediately. Dentists use stronger bleaching agents in this setting, as well as other techniques (like heat and light), to intensify the whitening process. In addition, they can better protect your gums from bleaching agents by using a gum shield, making it safer and more comfortable for you.
This is a do-it-yourself teeth whitening method involving products designed to be used in the comfort of your home. These are less effective than in-chair treatments, and you most likely need several sessions to achieve your desired results. Also, these only remove or reduce surface stains, not the deeper ones. You may get these from your local drugstore, grocery store, online, or dentist.
- Whitening toothpaste
- Whitening strips
- Rinses or mouthwashes
- Tray-based systems (from your dentist)
You must remember, though, that teeth whitening is not for everybody. In general, you need to be in good oral health to be a candidate for this procedure. This means you should have healthy gums, no tooth decay, and no active gum disease. Also, if you have sensitive teeth, you might want to avoid teeth whitening treatments or use a desensitising product before and/or after the procedure.
This is why it’s always best to consult your dentist before trying any teeth whitening method, especially if you plan to do it at home.
How Do You Care for Whitened Teeth?
You may be wondering how to care for your whitened teeth. Below are a few things you can do to help maintain their brightness and health:
- Avoid Foods and Drinks that Stain Teeth
This is probably the most important tip on this list. After you’ve had your teeth whitened, avoid foods and drinks that can cause staining. These include:
- Red wine
- Dark fruits
- Tomato sauce
These products contain tannins—ingredients naturally found in food and beverages known for their astringent, bitter flavour. Our tooth surface (enamel) is naturally porous, which is why the colour compounds of tannins easily stick to our teeth in small cracks and ridges. As a result, our teeth can become discoloured over time if we consume these products heavily.
If you can’t resist these certain types of food and drinks, at least brush your teeth after consuming them.
- Use a Straw
This might be a bit difficult, especially when you’re out and about, but using a straw can help minimise contact between teeth-staining beverages and your teeth. Usually, when you drink without a straw, the liquid goes straight to your teeth before going down your throat.
But when you use a straw, the beverage goes directly to the back of your mouth, minimising contact between it and your teeth. This way, there’s less chance of staining.
- Consider Quitting or Reduce Smoking
Aside from the fact that smoking is bad for your health, it can also make your teeth yellow and stained. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes can stick to your teeth and cause discolouration. If you can’t quit smoking, at least try to cut back or switch to e-cigarettes in a limited way.
- Brush Twice a Day and Floss Everyday
You probably know this already, but it’s still worth mentioning: brushing your teeth twice a day for at least 2 minutes (preferably after every meal) is essential to keeping them clean and healthy. It removes plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that forms on your teeth, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease if not removed.
Also, use the right type of toothbrush and toothpaste. A soft-bristled brush is gentle on the gums and still effective in removing plaque. As for toothpaste, it is recommended to use one with fluoride, as this helps protect your teeth.
Similarly, flossing helps remove plaque and food particles between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime.
- Visit Your Dentist Regularly
It’s recommended that you set dental appointments at least twice a year or more if you have some dental issues. During your visit, your dentist will clean your teeth (professional cleaning) to remove plaque and tartar buildup. They will also check for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems. In short, a professional cleaning can help keep your teeth bright and healthy.
In addition, they may also perform touch-up treatments if necessary. These are usually done every 6 to 12 months, depending on the type of whitening treatment you’ve had.
- Use Teeth Whitening Products Sparingly
Teeth whitening products can help make your teeth look brighter. However, they can make your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. They can also damage and irritate your gums. Therefore, using them sparingly or as your dentist recommends is best.
What Can You Expect Following Teeth Whitening Treatment?
While teeth whitening can give you a brighter smile, it’s not permanent. This dental treatment comes with risks and side effects, such as:
- Gum irritation
- Tooth sensitivity
- Possible throat or stomach pain
What Should You Avoid After Treatment?
Though professional teeth whitening is a quick procedure, there are some things you should avoid at least in the next 24 to 48 hours after the treatment, including:
- Drinking beverages that can cause teeth discolouration, such as coffee, tea, and red wine
- Eating foods that can stain your teeth
- Smoking tobacco
- Using any whitening products
How Long Does Your Result Last and What Could Affect It?
In the case of tooth whitening in a dental chair, you may see results for up to 2-3 years or as few as six months. For at-home treatments, your results may last up to 4 to 6 months, depending on the product you use. It’s important to note that this varies individually.
Several factors can affect how long your results last, such as:
- The method of whitening treatment
- Your diet
- Your oral hygiene habits
- Your lifestyle
How Often Should You See Your Dentist?
When Can You Resume Your Old Diet?
Is Teeth Whitening Worth It?
If you are looking for quick ways to improve your smile to boost your confidence, teeth whitening may be worth it. This is especially true for those constantly talking to different people, as you can make a great first impression when you smile more often.
However, remember that teeth whitening is not permanent, and the results may not be as dramatic as you want them to be. Also, there are risks and side effects involved. Therefore, it’s best to consult your dentist before undergoing any treatment.
Tooth whitening treatment is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to help you achieve a bright smile compared to other dental procedures with the same purpose. It can boost your confidence, especially if you talk to many people regularly.
However, this is not permanent, and the results may not be as striking as you want them to be. Risks and side effects, such as gum irritation and tooth sensitivity, are also involved. Moreover, not everyone is a good candidate for the procedure. That’s why it’s essential to consult with a dental professional.
Are you considering teeth whitening?
Consult with us now by calling 08 6196 4661 to schedule an appointment and see if teeth whitening is right for you. We are Piara Waters Dental, providing a wide range of dental services, including dental implants, children’s dentistry, bridges, smile makeovers, dentures, emergency dentistry, teeth whitening, and more. We have a friendly and energetic dental team dedicated to providing quality dental care in a comfortable and relaxed environment.