Discoloured teeth can add years to your appearance and make smiling a little embarrassing. One of the quickest and easiest ways to improve the appearance of your smile is tooth whitening. Teeth whitening is affordable, non-invasive, and offers startling results that make your smile bright and attractive. However, if you don’t take care of your teeth following your whitening treatment, you might find your bright smile soon start to fade. If you want to keep your teeth whiter, longer, here is our guide for the do’s and don’ts after whitening your teeth.
About Teeth Whitening
Before we begin, first it might be helpful to understand a little about the teeth whitening process. It is very natural for your teeth to begin to darken as they are exposed to certain foods, beverages, and other factors such as smoking every day. In fact, most of us do not have truly white teeth, but instead, our teeth range in different tones closer to grays and yellows.
Proper care of your teeth can help keep them looking their whitest. This includes brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental cleanings and polishing. Although proper care will help you avoid stain build up, the truth is that over-the-counter products are not enough to prevent your teeth from darkening. Therefore, a professional whitening is often required to help your teeth look their whitest.
Challenges for Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening can treat several issues, including yellowing, brown stains, and other discolourations. However, if you have teeth that have restorations, or artificial teeth such as crowns or dentures, whitening will not work. Another issue is diet and habits that can make it harder to combat stains from, for example, coffee, red wine, and smoking.
Our teeth whitening treatments are ideal for those who have all their natural teeth without restorations and that are visible when you smile. Another challenge for teeth whitening is sensitivity. Although we can provide better protection for your teeth than many over-the-counter whitening treatments, severe sensitivity makes teeth whitening unadvisable. Last, but not least, gum disease will also make whitening treatments difficult. Once gum disease is treated, we can revisit the possibility of teeth whitening.
The Teeth Whitening Process
If teeth whitening is an option for you, it is a simple process that offers many rewards. It usually takes just one or two appointments lasting about 60 minutes. We base the timing on the severity of your staining, in hand with the desired level of whiteness you wish to achieve.
The benefits of professional whitening include:
- A healthy white smile.
- Increased self-confidence.
- Decreased long-term tooth sensitivity.
- You can combat long-term stains and discolouration.
- Protect your gums and cheeks from the damage of home whitening products.
The Do’s for Aftercare
Following your teeth whitening treatment, you will finally have the attractive white smile you’ve always wanted. You want to make sure you keep your smile looking its best for as long as possible. Following your treatment, it is important to follow these do’s:
- Be sure to care for your teeth properly. Brush twice a day, floss, and use a fluoridated mouthwash after meals.
- Take care when brushing, using gentle strokes as your teeth might be sensitive following treatment. If you do experience sensitivity, use a sensitive toothpaste formula to keep your teeth comfortable.
- Stick to light-coloured foods such as rice, bread, milk, chicken, white lemonade, sparkling water, bananas, etc. Food and drink free of dyes and dark colours will help keep your teeth from staining.
The Do Nots for Aftercare
You will also have several things you will want to avoid for the first 24 hours following treatment including:
- Do not drink any dark drinks, as these will stain your teeth, including tea, coffee, red wine, and coloured drinks and fruit juice.
- Do not eat dark foods that will stain your teeth, including tomato-based sauces, soy sauce, red meat, chocolate, and all fruit, especially dark berries.
- If you are uncertain about what to eat and drink, a good rule of thumb is to avoid anything that will stain clothing. These foods will have the same effect on your teeth as they do on your clothes.
- Do not smoke for 24 hours directly after treatment, and if at all possible avoid smoking altogether. Smoking is a major contributor to staining. If you must smoke, moderate use of electronic cigarettes is preferred.
- Do not use coloured toothpaste or mouthwash. Choose white, clear products instead.
Possible Side Effects of Whitening
In hand with your do’s and do nots, you should be aware there are possible side effects to teeth whitening. The most common issue is tooth sensitivity. However, by using professional teeth cleaning treatments, you can avoid this issue in most cases. Sensitivity is caused when your dentin is exposed to the whitening solution. Professional whitening is applied with sensitivity in mind and will avoid overexposure to keep you comfortable. As mentioned, we will not recommend whitening if you suffer from sensitivity. If you do experience sensitivity following whitening, it will be temporary. We will recommend the right products to help reduce sensitivity until it eases.
You can also have soft tissue irritation following whitening. When you opt for professional whitening, we take precautions to protect your soft tissue from a chemical burn. In some cases, your gums might turn white following treatment, but this, like tooth sensitivity, will not last long. In some cases, you can also get some inflammation and redness, but we will not recommend treatment if you are at risk for these side effects.
Teeth whitening is an excellent cosmetic treatment that is safe, affordable, and highly effective. As with any treatment, we will discuss your options and let you know if we feel whitening is suitable for you.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, call Guelph Family Dentistry at (888) 588-1691 or click here to contact our knowledgeable team.