Teeth whitening isn’t for everyone. We should probably get that right off the bat before you consider it. If you’ve ever whitened your teeth at a dental office, chances are your teeth whitening dentist cautioned you about getting the procedure. Especially if you have heavily decayed teeth or thinning enamel. Before you get your teeth whitened, then, here’s what to know before teeth whitening.
Of course, it all starts with what mode of teeth whitening you’d want to use. Aside from your dental office’s professional whitening services, you have the option of going commercial. Here, you can either use whitening toothpaste or products with carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. You can also go the natural whitening route, which makes use of at-home whitening agents. But like all options, it’s best to know what you’re getting into before you choose a course.
What, then, should you know before you get your teeth whitened? Here are a few starters:
- How does teeth whitening work?
To answer this question, you need to know why your teeth get discolored in the first place. When we engage in certain habits or consume certain substances, stray particles can lodge themselves into our enamel’s pores. Of course, it isn’t as apparent when it first happens, but the more you engage in these habits, the more these particles accumulate. And the more these particles accumulate, the more visible the discoloration becomes. Teeth whitening substances, then, typically contain a bleaching agent that breaks down this build-up. These agents generally are carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. What they do is seep into the pores to break down the build-up, making your smile immediately brighter.
- How long will it take before I can see results?
Contrary to what the commercials tell you, it’s impossible to see your teeth whiten overnight. A professional whitening treatment takes 3-4 weeks before you see a noticeable difference. Whitening gels range somewhere between 4 days to many months. And strips might take a little while longer. Proponents of natural whitening might say that they work immediately after use. Still, perhaps this is due to their abrasive nature. If this is the route you choose, it might be best to use these methods sparingly.
- Is tooth sensitivity normal?
Yes! The procedure, in a way, dehydrates the teeth. And when this happens, it becomes harder for them to protect your nerves from the changes in temperature. But the sensation won’t last forever. Give it a day or three, and the sensation should die down on its own.
- How often should teeth get whitened?
It all really depends on what mode of teeth whitening you choose to take. For professional whitening treatments, it usually takes several follow-up appointments before you can see your results. Knowing how long is what you should know before you get teeth whitening. In this case, it’s always best to consult your dentist about the treatment duration.
- Can I whiten my restorations, too?
Unfortunately, no. Due to how teeth whitening works, it’s simply not possible. If you do want to lighten up your restorations, it might be best to replace them instead.