Teeth whitening is the most common procedure carried out by cosmetic dentists, and it's no surprise that in recent years, laser whitening has become a popular option. Laser teeth whitening can make teeth up to 11 shades whiter and can be much quicker than traditional bleaching methods—some dentists complete the procedure in as little as 15 minutes. Unlike at-home whitening options, though, laser whitening can be expensive, so it is important to properly prepare for your appointment to reduce the need for follow-up cleanings and keep your teeth looking whiter for longer. Here are four simple things you can do to make the most of your teeth whitening procedure.
1. Choose your shade
At your appointment, your cosmetic dentist will ask you how many shades lighter you would like your smile to be. It's a good idea to think about this before your appointment so you don't make a rushed decision. Compare the current colour of your teeth to a shade guide, and work out how white you would like your teeth to be. Remember, while laser whitening can make your teeth up to 11 shades whiter, this is not guaranteed. People with stubborn stains or naturally dark teeth may not experience the same results.
2. Schedule a professional clean
Tartar and plaque can interfere with the hydrogen peroxide that is used in laser whitening procedures so, for optimal results, schedule a professional scale and clean with a dental hygienist between two weeks and one month prior to your whitening appointment. Tartar, plaque and other embedded sediments can also contribute to tooth stains, so it is a good idea to have your teeth professionally cleaned at least every six months once your whitening procedure is complete to reduce the chance of stains reappearing.
3. Switch to desensitising toothpaste
Our teeth contain tiny nerves that react to the laser whitening process, which causes the painful tingling sensation often experienced by those undergoing the procedure. To minimise discomfort during and after your laser whitening, switch to using desensitising toothpaste for the two weeks preceding your appointment. Desensitising gel, which works to numb your nerves, can also be used in the days leading up to your appointment for extra protection.
4. Don't take over-the-counter painkillers
Dentists take care to avoid the gums completely when performing laser teeth whitening procedures, but this is not always possible. Some over-the-counter painkillers can increase the sensitivity of your gums, leaving you prone to discomfort during the procedure. The acidity in some painkillers, like aspirin, burns gums, so avoid taking it in the days prior to your whitening appointment.
Follow these steps and talk to a cosmetic dentist like those at DC Dental prior to your laser teeth whitening appointment to maximise your time in the dentist's chair and walk out with the smile you want!