Miami Valley Dental: All About Smiles
Thích Nhất Hạnh once said, “Sometimes, your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” Smiles come in all shapes and sizes, and research has shown that people with white teeth have a tendency to smile more. Thankfully, teeth whitening treatments make it possible for everyone to have a bright, white smile. With that in mind, here are four things to consider before and after your teeth whitening treatment.
Why do I need a dental cleaning before teeth whitening?
To answer this question, you’ll first need to understand the chemistry behind teeth staining. Generally, there are two types of teeth staining: extrinsic and intrinsic. Intrinsic stains typically happen because of changes inside the tooth, such as damage to a nerve canal or blood vessel or aging. Extrinsic staining, on the other hand, occurs on the outside of the tooth usually because of the structure of the tooth enamel.
When you eat or drink certain foods or smoke tobacco, a pellicle layer forms on top of the enamel. You normally scrape off this pellicle, or stain, when you brush. But over time, because of the porous nature of enamel, the stain can seep into the dentin. When that happens, only a dental cleaning can remove the stain as well as any accumulated plaque and tartar.
Receiving a cleaning before a whitening treatment gives the whitening agent a better chance of penetrating the outer layer of the tooth and lifting discolorations from the dentin.
Who should whiten their teeth?
Just like any other dental procedure, teeth whitening may not be an ideal solution for everyone. You’ll need to have healthy teeth and gums to get the most out of a professional teeth whitening system. This cosmetic procedure is very effective at removing stains from teeth, including ones caused by tobacco, coffee, tea, and a variety of other sources.
However, the results may vary from person to person and are highly dependent on the type of stain and degree of discoloration. If you have concerns about which cosmetic procedure will produce your desired smile makeover results, a consultation with a dentist may help determine whether teeth whitening can work for your particular case.
What is the teeth whitening treatment like?
Teeth whitening at the dentist’s office is a safe and effective way of achieving a whiter and brighter smile. Professional in-office teeth whitening procedures follow a somewhat standard routine. First, your dentist will determine the current shade of your teeth. This measurement acts as a benchmark to measure improvement after teeth whitening. Your dental health professional will then paint your gums with a protective barrier to keep the sensitive tissues in your mouth from coming into contact with the whitening solution. The whitening gel is then applied to the front surface of your teeth.
Although the bleaching agent used during professional teeth whitening is quite harmless to your teeth, it can irritate the sensitive tissues inside your mouth. That’s why Dr. Lang takes specific measures to protect your oral cavity before treatment. Some in-office whitening systems may also involve the use of a specialized light to “activate” the gel and speed up the whitening process.
During the hour or so it takes to complete this cosmetic procedure, you can use our free internet to listen to music on your phone, watch videos on your iPad, or anything else that doesn’t involve movement and allows you to relax.
How should I take care of my teeth after treatment?
It may seem a little obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: teeth whitening doesn’t protect you from future stains; it only removes the discoloration you already have. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to maintain and prolong the results of your smile makeover. The first thing you need to do is avoid acidic or colorful foods, particularly during the first 48 hours after treatment when your teeth are more vulnerable to staining.
You should also maintain a regular oral routine to keep plaque and tartar at bay, and see your dentist at least once every six months for a cleaning and touch-up (if needed). If you’re someone who drinks a lot of coffee or tea or smokes tobacco, you may need to schedule your touch-ups more often to maintain a bright smile.
Get started with your teeth whitening treatment today!
If you’re thinking of getting a smile makeover but aren’t sure where to start, feel free to contact us for a complimentary smile evaluation to find out what course of action will give you the brightest, healthiest smile. Dr. Lang and his team care about your smile and want to ensure the best for your dental health.