Performed either in a dental office or from home using custom-fitted trays made in a dental lab, professional teeth whitening is a popular solution for enhancing a person's smile. While the cost of professional bleaching is more expensive than purchasing over-the-counter products, this treatment often provides faster, more dramatic results.In fact, some patients may even…
4 Questions to Ask Your Dentist About Teeth Whitening
For many people, tooth discoloration is the primary oral issue that prevents them from smiling and speaking with confidence. There are many treatment options for a smile makeover, but few offer the instant and dramatic results that teeth whitening can provide. Professional teeth whitening can take years off of your smile and remove unsightly stains, and most patients achieve noticeable results after only one visit. While the method is straightforward, it is still important to discuss it with a dentist first to ensure a better outcome.
Four questions to ask before a teeth whitening treatment
You may have many questions about the treatment process for your dentist, but it can be beneficial to discuss the "before" and "after" details as well. Making the right preparations while creating a proper care plan for after-treatment can put patients at ease while helping them enjoy excellent results.
Can you have other dental work done after the treatment?
People who are dealing with other oral health issues should have these problems addressed first. These may include:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Weakened teeth
- Damaged teeth
- Loose or missing permanent teeth
Tooth discoloration due to decay or other oral health problems will not respond well to whitening agents, further weakening fragile teeth. Before scheduling a teeth whitening session, dental experts recommend addressing all other dental issues. In fact, most dentists will not whiten a patient's teeth until the mouth is healthy and free from signs of disease and decay. For example, whiteners can worsen tooth and gum sensitivity that accompany infection while not affecting tooth color.
However, whiteners will only change the color of natural teeth; therefore, many dentists recommend scheduling color enhancement procedures before installing crowns or other prosthetics. This also allows the dentist to make a better shade match for a more uniform smile. Still, only a dentist can tell you whether or not you should schedule additional dental work after a whitening treatment.
Which is the right shade for you?
Many people assume that the whiter the better when it comes to teeth. However, choosing a shade that does not match your complexion and natural coloring can end up looking very fake. Unnaturally white teeth can attract just as much unwanted attention as those that are stained.
Many dentists refer to a color shade chart when helping patients determine an appropriate degree of whitening. The chart shows progressive degrees of whiteness within four basic tooth shade categories, which are:
Ask a dentist to help you choose a shade that suits your appearance but still gives you a whiter and brighter smile.
What can you do to help the effects last?
Your dentist can help you create a plan for the first few days after your teeth whitening session. This usually includes careful cleaning and eating a white food diet until the tooth enamel has fully hardened again. Avoiding foods and drinks that have dark colors and can stain teeth is usually recommended long-term as well. When you avoid smoking and tobacco use and limit your consumption of the items that stain teeth the worst, you can help the whitening effects last even longer. Try to limit red wine, coffee, dark soda, berries, and beets.
When should you schedule a touch-up appointment?
How long a teeth whitening treatment lasts depends on various factors, including the patient's oral health and lifestyle choices and the methods used during treatment. For many people, once every three to six months is recommended, while others may wait as long as a year between sessions. Your dentist can help you determine the right time to schedule your next appointment. However, many dentists advise patients to schedule professional cleanings before teeth whitening appointments to remove tartar, plaque, or debris that can lead to uneven whitening results.
With all types of health and dental treatment, it is important for patients to ask questions and stay informed from start to finish. Teeth whitening can safely and effectively improve your oral health and boost self-confidence. Still, your dentist must first determine if you qualify for this procedure by performing a thorough oral examination, addressing oral health problems, and assessing your lifestyle.
Also, you must commit to a consistent home care routine and visit your dentist regularly to maintain a healthy mouth and ensure you enjoy the full and long-lasting benefits you expect. Finally, talk with your dentist about your upcoming teeth whitening and everything you need to know to keep your smile looking great.
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