Are you considering whitening your smile? There are many teeth whitening options out there but not all of them are effective — or safe. Our Fort St. John dentists share tips for safely whitening your teeth.
How can I safely whiten my teeth?
At Fort St. John Dental Clinic, we get many questions from patients about how they can whiten their teeth safely and effectively. While teeth whitening treatments can help us to feel more self-confident with a whiter, brighter smile, not every option out there is safe. In this post, our dentists recommend ways to get the job done safely — and offer some advice on how to keep a sparkling white smile.
Ask your dentist for best teeth whitening options
As we age, our teeth lose their natural whiteness for several reasons. Based on the current colour of your teeth, the reasons they have darkened and your specific needs, your dentist can provide a tooth colour analysis and recommend options for safely whitening your smile. Keep in mind that existing restorations may not change colour.
Our dentists in Fort St. John offer at-home teeth whitening treatments to whiten your teeth. You'll come in for two appointments. At your first appointment, impressions of your teeth will be made so a custom whitening tray can be created just for you. You will receive your tray, whitening gel and instructions on how to apply the gel at your second appointment.
After placing the whitening gel in each tray, you'll wear the trays in your mouth for about 1 to 2 hours each day (many patients wear their trays overnight). Most bleaching systems need about 10 to 14 days to see results. You may see a significant change in tooth colour in just 4 to 6 weeks.
Work with your dentist to avoid adverse side effects
Everyone's teeth respond differently to teeth whitening, so it's important to consult your dentist before, during and after the whitening process to reduce the chances o side effects. Gum irritation and tooth sensitivity are two of the most common adverse side effects reported by patients who have whitened their teeth. These effects are typically temporary and quickly disappear after tooth whitening. If irritation or sensitivity persists, consult your dentist.
Avoid dark-coloured or acidic foods and drinks.
You've just invested in whitening your smile. The good news: There are measures you can take to keep your teeth sparkling white. The challenge is for coffee lovers and pop drinkers to refrain from their favourite beverages immediately after whitening. Sports drinks, tea, red wine and tomato juice can also dull your new colour.
In addition, skip highly acidic or colourful foods such as strawberries, oranges, chocolate and ketchup after completing your round of teeth whitening, since it takes time for saliva to create a naturally protective coat around tooth surfaces after teeth whitening treatments.
Use teeth whitening toothpaste and mouthwashes to keep your smile bright
Over-the-counter toothpastes and mouthwashes can help you keep your newly whitened smile bright. Use these as daily routine maintenance to eliminate stains from your teeth by brushing twice daily for two minutes each time.
Touch up your smile periodically
Depending on your oral hygiene routine and the daily care you invest in your smile, the effects of at-home teeth whitening treatments can last for 2 to 3 years. While discolouration may slowly accumulate, it will not return to its original, pre-treatment shade.
If you notice your teeth starting to darken again, our dentists recommend touch-ups — ask your dentist at your regular hygiene appointment for personalized advice.