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- We recommend a current set of dental x-rays and an exam before beginning, to check for leaky fillings, sensitive teeth, or other problems that could cause the whitening gel to irritate your teeth.
- If you have fillings on your front teeth, read our page about tooth whitening with fillings.
- To begin your tooth whitening treatment, the cosmetic dentist will take impressions in order to make a splint for you. This will be ready for you within a few days. A thorough dental cleaning, though not mandatory, is highly desirable before beginning, so that all the tartar is removed.
- Each day, before putting the splint on, we recommend that you thoroughly brush and floss. Then, place the Nite White or Day White gel (or other brand) in the tooth compartments and place the splint over your teeth. Be careful not to use too much. You should taste only a small amount of the gel as you press the splint to place. If you taste a lot of it, you have used too much-spit out the excess, and next time don’t put so much in.
- The amount of time you wear the splint varies with the various bleaching products. Nite White and other similar products are designed to be used overnight or for other extended periods. Generally you will wear the splint four to sixteen hours per day for best results. Day White and related products are much more potent, and are designed for using for much shorter wear-times during the day.
- About 20% of the people will experience some gum irritation with the splint and/or the gel. At your follow-up visits, the dental office will check for this irritation and modify the splint if necessary to alleviate it or prescribe other relief.
- Since the splint isn’t very noticeable, some people will wear it in public. However, don’t wear it more than sixteen hours per day, as that can cause your teeth to shift. And you shouldn’t wear it while eating.
- If you develop any gum or tooth sensitivity, discontinue the treatment and contact your cosmetic dentist. Tooth sensitivity could be a symptom of decay, a leaky filling, or other problem that needs attention before you continue.
- If you desire to whiten your teeth beyond the results you get with the initial kit, you can purchase refill kits. We also recommend touch-up treatments with the refill kits once every year or so.
- In addition to the Nite-white or Day-white, we recommend the use of Supersmile toothpaste for maximum whiteness. Supersmile has a patented calcium peroxide formula that gently but effectively dissolves surface stains. This toothpaste is available from the manufacturer, or, for your convenience, we provide links on the website to places where you can purchase it at a discount. Just visit our Supersmile toothpaste page for details. Use it afterward, also, to help maintain the whiteness of your teeth. Many prominent cosmetic dentists recommend it.
Click here to read Dr. Hall’s blog post with some expert tips on whitening your teeth.
- After the follow-up visits, if no problems have surfaced that seem to require further monitoring, you are on your own. You can continue as long as you like, until the teeth are the whiteness you desire. Besides providing refills, your cosmetic dentist can supply a replacement splint in case yours gets lost or damaged or simply wears out, for a small fee.
- Some cosmetic dentists have you begin by treating the upper teeth first, and then the lower teeth later. They do this for three reasons:
- They feel that they have a professional responsibility to address any tooth sensitivity questions with the first arch of teeth before beginning you on the second arch.
- They also feel a need to know how much whitening is occurring. This is very hard to tell if both upper and lower teeth are being whitened simultaneously.
- They want you to see the results so that you will be satisfied as a patient. It is possible for you personally to be fooled as to how much your own teeth are being whitened unless you do one arch first and then the other.
- Teeth whitening is not a particularly difficult area of cosmetic dentistry. If you want a smile makeover, you should visit an expert cosmetic dentist. But for simple, straightforward teeth bleaching, your family dentist should be able to help you, unless you have a particularly difficult case like spotted teeth, tetracycline stains, or other restorative needs that need to blend in with the bleached teeth.
General information about teeth whitening.
Is there such a thing as tooth whitening relapse?
There are many claims made by whitening toothpaste. Dr. Hall sorts out the facts from the hype on this page.
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This content was written by Dr. David Hall.