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Belmont Dental - What to Expect During a Teeth Whitening Session

July 11, 2021

It seems like everyone on social media today has Insta-perfect smiles. These filtered and airbrushed images can make you feel extra self-conscious if your teeth aren’t dazzlingly white.

While we can’t teach you how to airbrush your pictures, we can do one better. At Belmont Dental, we offer professional teeth whitening services so you, too, can have an Insta-perfect smile.

Sure, you can get over-the-counter whitening products anywhere. But when you’re not sure what ingredients are in the product, it’s not a good idea to put chemicals in your mouth. Since we use professional-grade ingredients and state-of-the-art equipment, you can trust that you’re in good hands.

So now that you’re convinced that an in-office teeth whitening session is right for you, what should you expect at your visit? This guide will help you get ready for the before, during, and after preparations.

What to Know Before You Go

Unlike certain other dental procedures, there’s no need to worry about a whitening treatment. You won’t feel any pain, pulling, or discomfort, just a slight feeling of warmth and tingling from the special light.

In fact, you can even bring a book, or feel free to scroll through social media while you wait for our whitening gel to do its thing!

But before you schedule your treatment, you should have an office visit. During this routine checkup, we’ll do a thorough cleaning of any plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth and watch for signs of impending problems.

It’s Important to Fix Issues First

If you do have anything going on below the surface, any type of whitening treatment can make the problem worse. The first sign you might notice is a little sensitivity in your teeth and/or gums. This sensation isn’t normal, and shouldn’t be ignored.

It’s probably nothing that can’t be easily corrected right now. But if you let it go, and then you use a whitening agent, the problem can quickly get worse. With dental issues, letting a small issue go for too long usually means a more painful and expensive correction in the future.

Instead, we’ll go ahead and check for any signs of things that could be made worse with a whitening treatment, like:

  • Cavities
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • A filling that is coming loose
  • Beginning or advanced gum disease

Although our products are professional-grade, meaning they are the strongest and safest you can use, any whitener can be an irritant. The active ingredient in them is a bleaching agent designed to lighten your teeth. If you don’t follow the directions completely, or the agent stays on too long, it can damage your teeth and gums.

The point of the checkup is to ensure your mouth is healthy enough to handle the bleaching products. If any problems are found, we’ll take care of them quickly and get you back on track to your whiter smile!

The Day Of Your Whitening Appointment

On the exciting day of your visit, make sure you eat at least half an hour before you come to our office. You’ll be with us for a good hour or so, and there’s no point in being hungry! But that half an hour in between gives your enamel time to reharden after your meal.

Once you get here, we’ll clean your teeth again. The professional cleaning equipment wipes off any plaque or tartar and gives us a clean surface to work with.

Don’t be surprised if the next step is to insert a retractor in your mouth. This little piece of equipment provides an extra safety step to make sure none of the bleaching agent touches your lips and inside tissues. It won’t harm it if it does, but it can irritate these sensitive areas.

After that, we’ll brush a light layer of protective gel over your gums to prevent the whitening product from touching those, as well. Then, it’s time for the good part!

How Whiteners Work

Every whitening product has the same basic process. The differences are in how the whitener is applied and the ingredients in the product. 

When the whitening product goes on your teeth, either directly or with an applicator, it impacts the layer of dentin in the enamel. Dentin is the part that is responsible for the color of your teeth. 

The agent works by expanding the pores in the dentin. Once they’re expanded wide enough, the bleach gets into the pores and lightens the color that’s currently there.

While every whitening product is intended to do this, they don’t all work the same way. If your product has substandard ingredients, it’s going to take longer to do the job and the lighter color won’t last long. You’ll have to repeat the steps over and over, chancing more irritation and harm to your teeth and gums.

But in a professional whitening treatment, we use top-quality products that are considered to be safest and most effective by the American Dental Association. Instead of letting the bleach sit for a long time and possibly irritate your mouth, we also have a special light. This light isn’t magical, but it does work like magic.

When the light is shone on your mouth, it causes the whitening agent to work more effectively. It gets into your dentin faster, so you have less time with the bleach in your mouth. The ultimate goal is the safest path to whiter teeth for you. The less time you spend with chemicals touching your teeth, the better!

Although the light does make the product work faster, you’ll still be waiting for it to process the bleaching agent for a little while. During that wait, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your downtime.

Keeping Your Newly White Smile

Before you leave, your dentist will talk to you about the precautions you should take for a couple of days. There isn’t anything you can’t do, but there are a few foods and drinks you should avoid. These items are known as “stainers.” Since the pores in your dentin are going to stay open for 48 hours, they can easily get in and re-stain your teeth.

The better your oral habits are, the longer your teeth will keep their white shade. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily. Mouthwash is helpful, too. All of these steps prevent tartar and plaque buildup and staining.

When you’re ready to dazzle the world with your new, white smile, contact our helpful staff at Belmont Dental to get the process started!

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