What You Should Know About Bleaching Your Teeth

Everybody wants a set of white teeth. They boost confidence, help you to have a clean look and they reflect good oral health. However, this has to be done right in order to avoid an issue that could ensue if you start picking up just any over the counter whitening product. While side effects from whitening products are rare, you could follow these tips before bleaching your teeth to ensure your safety.

dentist choosing tooth color for patient at clinic

See Your Dentist in Seattle First

If your teeth appear stained, don’t assume you need to bleach them. Talk to your dentist when you have your next appointment and ask their opinion on the process. If you have any dental condition that needs a treatment, such as a cavity or gum issues, they will need to be treated before you can start the whitening process.

Know What to Look for in Over-the-Counter Teeth Bleaching Products

At-home whiteners most often use carbamide peroxide in concentrations ranging from 10 to 20%. Carbamide peroxide is hydrogen peroxide with urea added. This product remains active for up to 10 hours at a low enough acidity level that won’t etch your enamel.

Start with a product containing 10% carbamide peroxide. Make sure that it does not cause any discomfort in your mouth first, then assess whether your teeth have been whitened. If it’s not effective, you can increase the concentration slightly.

Follow the Directions

Pay close attention to what the instruction says. Don’t leave the gel or strips on your teeth longer than advised or you could experience tooth sensitivity and sore gums. Also, avoid drinking soda, sports drinks or other sugary/acidic beverages for several hours after whitening. Your teeth are still vulnerable at that point, and acidic drinks and sugar can etch the enamel.

Consider Professional In-Office Teeth Bleaching

At-home whitening kits are inexpensive and widely available, but that doesn’t make them the best choice. Professional in-office teeth bleaching can lighten your smile up to eight shades in a single 45-minute visit. Combined with professional-grade take-home treatments, patients see an average improvement of 11 shades. In comparison, over-the-counter whitening requires daily 30-minute applications for more than two weeks to achieve a six-shade improvement.

In-office whitening uses LED light-activated technology to maximize results in the shortest amount of time without causing tooth sensitivity. It’s effective both for people who simply want to lighten their smile and for patients with severely discolored teeth.

Know When Not to Bleach Your Teeth

Whitening isn’t right for everyone. Keep these factors in mind:

    • Pregnant women and nursing mothers should postpone teeth bleaching.
    • Whitening doesn’t affect composite, ceramic and porcelain materials. Dental crowns made of these materials will remain darker than the rest of your teeth.
  • Translucent teeth don’t respond well to whitening. A tooth-colored composite placed on the lingual side of a see-through tooth is a more effective way to improve its appearance.

Icon Dental is an affordable, clean & friendly dental office in Seattle – get in touch with us today to see how we can help you maintain a healthy set of teeth.

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