Teeth can become stained due to habits such as smoking or drinking coffee or wine. The passage of time also takes its toll. Cosmetic dentistry offers a number of solutions that can help return your teeth to a more attractive shade of white.The benefits of a healthy smile are well known, but many people fail…
Caring for Your Teeth After Whitening From Your Cosmetic Dentist
For those looking to achieve a whiter, brighter smile, a cosmetic dentist can help people meet their goals with satisfying and long-lasting results. A professional tooth whitening is a relatively simple and straightforward procedure. However, it is important that patients understand the process and necessary follow-up care to enjoy a more favorable outcome.
Professional teeth whitening procedure
When a dental patient experiences a yellowing or discoloration of the teeth, a whitening treatment can help remove years of staining for a more beautiful smile. As preparation, a cosmetic dentist may recommend a routine cleaning from a general dentist to remove any plaque or tartar buildup. During treatment, a whitening solution or gel is brushed onto the surface of each affected tooth. Many times, this solution is cured with a blue light to activate the ingredients for more noticeable results. Depending on the level of staining and treatment plan chosen, a patient may need one or multiple whitening sessions.
Due to the nature and composition of whitening treatments, tooth enamel is temporarily weakened. This process breaks down some of the surface minerals to remove deep staining. As a result, it is critical to take certain precautions to protect the teeth and prevent stains from recurring.
After a whitening treatment, a cosmetic dentist will likely address several areas to ensure the patient is utilizing proper home care. If patients are unsure about which products to use or avoid, they should contact the office first, rather than run the risk of ruining a recent treatment.
The recovery timeline
The natural process of remineralizing the teeth can take anywhere from 24-72 hours, depending on overall oral health and the type of whitening treatment used. Patients should take extra care to follow these rules during the first two or three days after a whitening treatment. However, for more lasting results, it is wise to make a habit out of whitening follow-up practices.
Brushing and flossing
Patients should wait to brush and floss for at least one hour after a whitening treatment from a cosmetic dentist. Once it is safe to resume oral home care, a soft-bristled brush should be used in a gentle, circular motion to avoid enamel loss. A high-fluoride toothpaste is recommended.
Dietary and lifestyle choices
Most dentists recommend a white or clear food diet after treatment. Patients should avoid foods and beverages that can contribute to staining, such as:
- Red wine
- Dark berries
Also, patients should not smoke or use tobacco products. Many experts also recommend that lipsticks be avoided, as these can seep onto the teeth during use.
Tooth sensitivity is common after a whitening treatment of any kind. While it typically subsides after a few days, some patients experience lingering effects. Using a toothpaste and mouth rinse designed to combat sensitivity can be helpful. In addition, patients should avoid extremely hot, cold, or acidic foods until the discomfort subsides.
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