A Bright New Year

Teeth_WhiteningPeople often think a great deal about improving their appearance during the first several weeks of the year, and teeth whitening is one way to achieve an attractive smile. While those seeking a bright smile have numerous options when it comes to teeth whitening methods, in-office whitening remains the best one for achieving lasting results and ensuring those shiny teeth reside in a mouth free of disease or other challenges.

In-office teeth whitening, step by step

Your dentist will begin the in-office teeth whitening process with a thorough examination. He or she will often have radiographs made of your teeth and jaw, check your head and neck for symptoms of conditions such as oral cancer, and assess the existing restorations (crowns, implants, etc.) you may have. This health assessment is done to ensure that your teeth discoloration issues don’t stem from an underlying medical condition, and to check for situations that would make you a poor candidate for whitening, such as having untreated cavities, a high degree of sensitivity during other dental procedures, or advanced periodontal disease.

Once it’s been determined that whitening would be a good way to address your teeth-staining issues, your dentist will most likely discuss how many shades of teeth lightening you can realistically expect to receive during your whitening treatment. Her dental staff will assist you in reducing problems with tooth sensitivity, both before and after the treatment.

Once the in-office treatment session has begun, your dentist and her staff will monitor the application of the bleaching agent, adjust the treatment to maximize your comfort and minimize sensitivity problems, and may discuss with you a follow-up regimen, such as using dentist-prescribed take-home teeth whitening trays. They may also coach you in what foods to avoid (cherries and berries are common staining culprits) and how to minimize the staining impact of drinks such as coffee or tea (hint: drink them through a straw).

“In-office teeth whitening is cost-effective – patients can keep their smiles bright for up to a year with an in-office treatment and a good maintenance routine at home,” says Dr. Carol Ford, a cosmetic dentist in practice in central Phoenix. “Your dentist can help you improve the appearance of your smile safely and healthfully.”


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