Whitening is a great solution, but certain precautions should be taken before starting. As always, dentistry is always patient-specific, so check with your dental care provider first if whitening is for you.
One of the most common side effects of whitening is sensitivity. If you are a patient who experiences sensitivity on a day-to-day basis, talk to your dental health care provider before starting any whitening treatment, so they make your whitening experience as comfortable as possible for you or seek alternative procedures that might be required before you start.
It is recommended that before you use whitening, to use a strong sensitivity-fighting toothpaste. These toothpaste contain ingredients like potassium nitrate, arginine, strontium acetate hemihydrate or calcium sodium phosphosilicate. These ingredients have been clinically proven to reduce sensitivity effectively. Before bed, rub a pea-sized amount of this toothpaste on your teeth with a clean finger. Leave it alone for one minute to let the toothpaste desensitize your teeth. Then, brush your two minutes, and rinse with as little water as possible. Do not eat or drink before bed. This should be done 14 days before you start whitening your teeth, especially if you have sensitive teeth or a history of sensitive teeth from whitening products.
The most effective whitening products that can be bought over the counter (i.e., at your local Shoppers or Walmart) are the whitening strips. Whitening strips are most effective if your teeth are perfectly aligned. If you have misaligned teeth, you might not get all of your smile whitened, because of the shape of the strips.
The best option for whitening is to go with custom whitening. This is done in two ways. The first is in-office whitening, which is usually an hour or longer appointment, where a strong whitening gel is applied directly to the teeth and activated by a special light. The other option is custom trays, where models of your teeth are used to make custom trays. These trays are take home, and a special whitening gel is accompanied. The duration of how many days and for how long each day depends on your goals and your tolerance for the products.
Home care while using whitening treatments
If you are now using either the whitening strips or the professional custom trays, similar to prevention, apply sensitive toothpaste on your teeth for one minute before brushing. Then, apply the strips or custom trays filled with whitening gel. Remove as instructed by the instruction on the box or as informed by your dental professional, respectively.
If you begin to feel sensitivity or discomfort, contact the hotline on the box for the whitening strips or call your dental professional for the whitening gels.