One of the most popular procedures performed by a cosmetic dentist is teeth whitening. Because in-office treatments deliver immediate results, many people choose to invest in this option to enhance their smile.
Although this procedure is performed frequently, many patients are unaware there are steps to take before the appointment that can help ensure the results meet expectations. Here are actions dental professionals recommend to prepare for a whitening treatment.
Make sure the teeth are healthy
Professional whitening only works on teeth with external stains typically caused by eating, drinking, and smoking. Teeth discolored internally from decay, long-term use of antibiotics, or trauma will not be improved with this type of treatment. To make sure the procedure will work, it can be a good idea to get teeth evaluated by a dental professional before scheduling the whitening process. Also, there are different forms of professional teeth whitening available, and having an evaluation can allow the dentist to determine which treatment to recommend based on overall health and dental needs.
Get a professional cleaning
The results of a whitening treatment can be enhanced if the teeth are professionally cleaned prior to the procedure. This gets rid of any plaque or tartar buildups as well as other deposits or sediments that can interfere with the whitening process. Making sure the teeth are as clean as possible can also help the treatment to look even and symmetrical and avoid having patches left discolored.
Be smart about tooth sensitivity
Teeth whitening can increase tooth sensitivity. The bleaching agents used, including peroxide, typically cause the teeth to become more porous and allow substances to permeate the enamel, reaching the nerve. Teeth undergoing the whitening process are generally more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, and sometimes to certain ingredients such as sugar or acids. To assist with lowering the discomfort associated with sensitivity, it can be helpful to use a desensitizing toothpaste prior to the treatment that includes the ingredients strontium chloride and potassium nitrate. These ingredients diminish the signal the tooth nerve sends to the brain and therefore the amount of sensitivity experienced.
Choose an exact shade
To achieve results that look natural, dentists recommend using a shade guide to determine the current brightness of the teeth as well as the shade desired. A cosmetic dentist should have a shade guide available to assist with this process. This can not only help achieve the most accurate results but also provide a framework for comparison. The shade of the teeth after whitening can be compared to the chosen shade on the guide to see how closely they match.
Teeth whitening is a common and generally straightforward procedure, but patients should still do all they can to help it go smoothly. Taking these steps prior to having whitening treatment is a good way to make sure both the teeth and the cosmetic dentist are as prepared as possible and the outcome will more closely match expectations.
Request an appointment or call Phoenix Family Dentistry at (602) 755-6684 for an appointment in our Phoenix office.