Professional teeth whitening is a common procedure, popular all around the world and with very few side effects. If you’re interested in the procedure it’s worth knowing all you can about how you should prepare, what goes on and what to be mindful of afterwards.
This blog should put your mind at ease regarding any anxieties you may have about a professional teeth whitening session, covering what goes on before, during and after your session.
Before the session
There are a few important things to consider before you commit to paying for a teeth whitening session. Any cosmetic procedure requires forethought and careful consideration of possible consequences.
Side effects of the session can include an aching pain that lasts up to a day and possible two days.
If you have extremely sensitive teeth (i.e. the enamel has worn down), fillings or any restorations it is advised not to get your teeth whitened. Highly sensitive teeth will cause more pain and restorations don’t colour properly. Pregnant and lactating women are also discouraged because of the chemicals used.
The sessions tend to be quite expensive, so make sure you have considered the costs and are willing to pay for an effective—yet impermanent—cosmetic procedure.
During the session
The first thing you need to do is organise a consultation with your dentist. They can inform you of any complications that might arise due to your situation, and will ultimately advise for or against the procedure.
What goes on in the session depends on the method being used by the dentist. One of the most popular is the ‘laser light’ method, which lasts one to two hours.
The first thing the dentist does is take a photo of your teeth before the procedure, so the results can be compared afterward.
Seated in the dentist’s chair, your lips will be coated in a protective SPF lotion and a cheek retractor is inserted into your mouth to keep it open. You’ll also be wearing protective glasses.
A bleaching gel will then be coated over your teeth. This gel contains hydrogen peroxide.
The laser light is then switched on, shining directly and evenly onto your teeth for the bleaching process. You need to sit still for the duration, which could either be a full hour or a few 15 minute intervals.
When the procedure is complete, your gums will be rinsed and suctioned, and you’ll be ready to go.
After the session
After the procedure, the pores of enamel are opened up, making your teeth more susceptible to stains for about two days. Avoid heavily staining foods and beverages for a few days, including coffee, red wine, berries and using lipstick.
You will experience some sensitivity and dull pain for around 24 hours. If this pain and sensitivity persists for longer than two days, or if the pain is especially intense, consult your dentist.
Professional teeth whitening can last from 6 months to two years, during which time you should see your dentist for regular checkups. Remember that the procedure is not permanent—your teeth haven’t been coated with a super-protective barrier that rebounds stains. If you plan to keep up that healthy shine, dental care and future sessions will be required.