You have a big life event coming up that you want to look your absolute best for. You just got your hair trimmed; you managed to find the perfect outfit; your best friend is making all of the dinner plans. Everything seems to be in place, except for one thing. your teeth.
They have always been a little more yellow than you would like and it usually doesn’t bother you. But, you have your big event coming up, and well – you want everything to be perfect.
You do not have to have something big planned to get your teeth whitened. Whatever your reason, it is probably safe to assume that if you have had the treatment done, you would like for the results to last as long as they can. So let’s go over the basics of a teeth whitening treatment, what you can do to prolong the treatment, and how long you should wait before getting the next treatment.
What can I expect when I go into the dentist office for a teeth whitening treatment?
Firstly, you are probably familiar with the at-home teeth whitening kits. These include strips, and gels, sometimes with the use of a light device. That is not what we are referring to in this article.
The teeth whitening treatments that we are talking about include those that are done with your dentist, most often in the office (although some may include at home treatments). Treatments that take place in office most often include what is called a whitening gel. You will often hear the words “bleach” or “bleaching” which has nothing to do with what you would likely call bleach. Rather, it refers to the process of removing stains from the service of teeth.
At many in-office visits, you will most likely have a peroxide (the bleaching agent) solution gel placed into a tray that is then put into the mouth. A light (usually an LED of some sort) will often accompany the gel as it both activates the gel more and can speed up treatment. The time of treatment varies based on factors that include:
- Dental health (how yellow they are)
- The straightness of teeth (which may require custom trays)
- Strength of peroxide gel
- Presence of light and type of light
In addition to the in office visits, dentists will often send patients home with some strips or custom trays to touch up the treatments. The instructions for these will be communicated by your particular dentistry professional.
How do I keep the results of my teeth whitening lasting longer?
So, you have just gotten done with your treatment and you are so excited. You think that your teeth look great. You are now probably wondering how to keep your teeth looking like they do. Well, here are some tips.
There are many factors that you should keep in mind when thinking about how to keep your teeth as white looking as possible. Interestingly most of these factors are related to how your teeth might have started yellowing beyond your liking in the first place.
For one, you should follow any directions or at home treatments that have been provided to you by your dentist. You may be sent home with whitening strips or gels to help touch up and mitigate any yellowing that is bound to occur.
Another thing to look out for are the types of food and drinks you are consuming. It is pretty easy to determine what foods may be staining your teeth and you probably know some of the items on this list:
- Coffee and Tea
- Red wine
- Tomato based soups or sauces
- Energy drinks that are dyed a dark color
- Soda that is dark in color (like cola)
- Dark fruits and berries
- Dark types of candy.
These foods all have in common that they are dark or rich in color and will stain your teeth by depositing color.
In the long run of having healthy teeth that are not stained, you may also consider your smoking habits. If you smoke nicotine, that is likely a main contributor to the yellowing of your teeth. There are many reasons to stop or lessen your nicotine intake when it comes to dental health, and the appearance of your teeth is one of the more noticeable.
One last thing: try to maintain good dental hygiene. It can seem too good to be true but when thinking about dental appearance, it is so important to brush twice a day and floss.
How often can I whiten my teeth?
Again, this will depend on a few factors. It can range from every few months to once a year. The main consideration is how long the treatment lasts. If you are still happy with the results even after your teeth have gotten less white, you can wait longer in between treatments. If your teeth have yellowed beyond your liking, it might be time to speak with your dentist.
Another consideration is the strength of the peroxide agent that was used by your dentist. Whitening teeth with a really strong solution too often can cause your teeth to dehydrate and increase the risk of sensitivity. Your dentist will know what to do and how often to schedule treatments based on their own procedures.
At Devaney, we offer a few options for teeth whitening in Greensboro NC, so whatever your goals are, we have the expertise and staff to help you achieve them!