Having a whiter, more attractive smile can benefit you in more ways than you can imagine. Obviously, a whiter smile will enhance the way you look. But did you know that having a more attractive smile can also increase your self-esteem? In fact, studies conducted over the past several years have shown that there are many advantages to being pleased with the appearance of your smile. Not only will it boost your self-esteem, it will also make you feel more self-confident; it will help you to smile more, which in turn elevates your mood and improves the way you see the world; and it will help other people to see you in a more positive light. And there’s more good news: you don’t have to spend a fortune to improve the appearance of your smile! One of the easiest ways to achieve that goal is also one of the fastest and least expensive – professional whitening services performed by your dentist. We’ve collected the following information so you can know what to expect from teeth whitening, before and after.
Why Professional Teeth Whitening is the Best Choice
Most of us have seen the commercials and ads for over-the-counter teeth whitening products. And while it may be tempting to give these a try, you may not be happy with the results. When it comes to teeth-whitening products, you get what you pay for. Over-the-counter products may be less expensive than professional teeth whitening, but they also don’t work nearly as well as having your teeth whitened by your dentist. Most OTC products require many applications before you’ll see even the smallest change. But in a single trip to your dentist’s office, your teeth will be up to 8 shades whiter! The difference is immediate and dramatic. So although you may pay a bit more for professional whitening, we believe you’ll agree with most dental patients – that it’s worth every penny!
The Process Involved in Professional Teeth Whitening
Before you have your teeth whitened, your dentist will recommend that you have your teeth professionally cleaned and that any dental issues (such as cavities and gum disease, for example) be resolved. Keep in mind that having your teeth whitened just changes the shade of your teeth; it doesn’t clean your teeth or fix any oral health issues. Once your teeth have been cleaned and dental problems are resolved, you’ll be ready for whitening.
The exact steps involved in having your teeth professionally whitened by your dentist will vary slightly depending on the type of whitening system used. For our purposes in this article, we will describe the process involved with the Zoom! whitening system, which has produced spectacular results for dental patients from all across the US.
The process involves three 15-minute sessions for a total of 45 minutes, all of which is done in a single trip to the dentist’s office. The procedure typically begins when the dentist covers your lips and gums to shield them from the whitening gel. The next step involves the dentist applying the special Zoom! whitening gel to your teeth and leaving it on for 15 minutes. During that time, a special lamp will be used to help activate the gel. After the first 15-minute session, a second application of gel will be applied to your teeth, along with a second session under the lamp. Finally, after another 15 minutes, the third and final layer of gel is applied along with another 15-minute session under the lamp.
Once that whitening process is complete, your dentist will apply a fluoride gel to your teeth to help decrease the sensitivity that normally occurs during the whitening procedure. For the majority of dental patients, this sensitivity is short-lived, although some people continue to feel occasional flashes of pain for a while after the whitening process. Although most people can tolerate this level of discomfort for short periods of time, having their teeth professionally whitened may be too painful for people who have sensitive teeth to begin with, which is why it’s usually not recommended for those patients.
In addition to the in-office whitening services, many dentists offer take-home whitening kits as well, so their patients can whiten their teeth as needed in the future. In the case of Zoom! whitening, this will involve the dentist creating a custom-made tray for the patients, which they can use in combination with the whitening gel for at-home whitening.
Remember that the procedure described above is only for the Zoom! whitening system. The exact process varies somewhat depending on the whitening product used by the dentist.
What to Expect After Professional Teeth Whitening
As we mentioned before, you might experience some amount of sensitivity for a time after you have your teeth whitened. For this reason, your dentist might recommend that you avoid hot and cold food and drinks for a day or two afterwards, and that you use over-the-counter pain medication as directed to alleviate some of the discomfort. You may also notice a slight amount of gum irritation if the whitening gel comes into contact with your gum tissue during the procedure. But if you experience this type of irritation, it should go away within a day or two. Your dentist will no doubt tell you beforehand that the bleaching gel won’t work on dental restorations like crowns and fillings, so you won’t see any change in the shade of your existing dental work after whitening.
If you choose to use a take-home whitening kit, you should avoid using it too often. If you whiten your teeth too frequently, they might actually appear bluish in color. And, worse yet, you could end up damaging the enamel layer of your teeth. Your dentist can recommend how often it’s appropriate to whiten your teeth at home.
For more information about having your teeth professionally whitened, and to find out more about what to expect from teeth whitening before and after, contact your dentist today and schedule an appointment. While teeth-whitening services may not be the right choice for everyone, they are completely safe for the majority of dental patients.