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What to Expect During a Teeth Whitening Session

Published: July 9, 2021
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Making the decision to invest in your smile is a major milestone. When you have whiter teeth, you’re more likely to show them off. And a smile is attractive to those who see it, so who knows what life changes are in store for you next?

With so many whitening products readily available on the market, it can get confusing to decide which one is best. But experts recommend that the safest and most effective path to a brighter smile is to get a professional whitening service in a dental office.

At Cedar Grove Dental, our whitening technique uses state-of-the-art equipment and top-of-the-line products. Scheduling an appointment for a teeth whitening session in our office is exactly what you need.

Just because you can buy something over the counter doesn’t mean it’s safe. The active ingredient in any whitener is a bleaching agent, and chemicals in your mouth can be dangerous. Using someone trained in this technique, like the experts at Cedar Grove Dental, is the safest way to go.

Unlike other dental procedures, there’s no anxiety necessary in a whitening treatment! Before you take the next step and schedule yours, here is everything you need to know about what takes place in a teeth whitening session in our office.

Preparing For a Whitening Treatment

When you know you’re ready to take the next step and improve your smile, the first thing on your list is to call and schedule a checkup. Most dentists won’t do a whitening treatment without this initial exam first, and there’s an important reason why not.

Any whitening agent uses a chemical, like a hydrogen peroxide. Generally, the solutions these ingredients are found in aren’t harmful on their own. But if you already have a problem starting in your mouth, the whitener can irritate it and make it worse.

At your checkup, the dentist will look for signs of sensitivity or early issues in your teeth and gums. If any are found, the next plan of action will be to fix those problems, then get you back on track for your whitening session.

Yes, some dental problems are easily noticed through painful teeth or bleeding in the gums. But others don’t show any signs. If you have a cavity starting or chips or cracks in your teeth, the whitening agent may irritate them. Any gum disease, from early onset to advanced, can be worsened with a whitener, too.

The last thing you want is to feel pain along with your newly lighter teeth. We don’t want that for you, either, so we’ll take care of any problems first.

At Your Whitening Appointment

These services can be scheduled any time that’s convenient for you and available at the office. You won’t need a ride, a day off, or any other interference. 

The visit will take about an hour, and you should make sure you have something to eat before you get here. However, eating softens the enamel on your teeth. Be sure to finish up your food and drinks at least 30 minutes before your appointment time. That way, the enamel will be hard enough for us to apply the whitener.

During Your Treatment

Even if you brushed and flossed before coming to see us (which we suggest), you will still need to have a professional cleaning before your teeth are whitened. A professional cleaning removes all plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. With all the junk gone, the whitening agent has a smooth, clear target to work with.

After your cleaning, we’ll work on preparing your mouth with our safety protocols. This includes using a retractor to pull your lips and cheeks away from any whitening products. It won’t hurt if they touch, but since those areas are made up of sensitive tissues, it’s better to be extra safe.

Your gums are also sensitive and easily irritated. To avoid that possibility, we’ll brush a layer of protective gel across them before we add the whitener to your teeth. The final step is when the dentist applies our professional-grade whitening product!

As it works it's almost magic, you can relax and do whatever you need to do, take a nap, or enjoy the peace.

It’s Not Magic - How Whiteners Work

Every whitening product may look different or tell you it’s the best, but they really all work the same way. The differences are in the ingredients the manufacturer uses and the way you apply the product to your teeth.

Some companies have products that are approved by the American Dental Association (a label you should always look for). But their ingredients are substandard, meaning you’ll need to use more of the product or use it more often for it to work.

The problem with this is that the more bleaching chemicals you put in your mouth, the more likely you are to irritate your gums and teeth. When you understand what the whitening agent does, this makes more sense.

With every product, the whitener is applied to your tooth’s enamel. When it sits on the surface, it begins interacting with the dentin on each tooth. Dentin is the layer of enamel that determines the tooth’s color. It can be stained and discolored, or it can be lightened. The bleaching agent tries to cover the stains and lighten the dentin.

Dentin is very porous, so the agent works by expanding those pores. Once they’re wide enough, it squeezes into them and slowly absorbs into the dentin, lightening it as it goes. But the longer it sits in there, the more harmful it can become.

Professional whitening services like those at Cedar Grove Dental minimize the damage potential. We use a special light that lets the bleaching agent interact with the dentin faster. You don’t have to sit as long with chemicals in your mouth, and the end result is whiter teeth quickly.

Many patients notice great results after their first treatment. This depends on the reason why your teeth are stained and the severity of their discoloration.

How Do You Keep Your Teeth White?

Now that you have your whiter smile, you want to keep it that way for as long as possible! To make this happen, it’s important to be careful about what you eat and drink for 48 hours. 

Since your dentin’s pores are still open, they’re easily stained. Your dentist will talk to you about a special “white” food diet to stick with for the next two days. Other than that, there are no major after-care instructions!

Of course, your oral hygiene habits matter. If you brush your teeth regularly, carefully floss, and use mouthwash, it’s harder for plaque and tartar to stick around. Without debris and staining, your teeth will stay lighter longer.

Ready to take the step to a whiter smile? Contact Cedar Grove Dental today!

Cedar Grove Dental would love to hear from you.
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CEDAR GROVE DENTAL

2151 Hospital Drive Sedro Woolley, WA 98284

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Monday - Thursday
8:00 am — 5:00 pm
Friday
8:00 am — 2:00 pm