When it comes to having your teeth whitened in the weeks running up to your big day there is one key piece of advice that you should know about... Don’t do it. Why? Because most experts recommend starting your journey to a whiter smile a lot further out than just weeks before your big moment.
Below, Dentist, Implantologist and Laser Specialist, Dr Sofia Aravopoulou from Euromed Clinic Dubai spoke to Bazaar Bride to explain how teeth whitening actually works, and how you can be better prepared. After all, if there is one time in your life to consider a treatment such as teeth whitening, it’s before your wedding day.
Many brides-to-be want a whiter smile. Can anyone have their teeth whitened?
Teeth whitening can work on all teeth to some extent, but the treatment plan may differ from patient to patient to achieve the desired results. If a person has resins, veneers or crowns, then teeth whitening will not work as you cannot whiten artificial material.
Does professional in-office teeth whitening require a consultation first?
Consultations are always necessary. A relationship between patient and dentist is required first to build long term bond, to understand the individual needs and vision for the perfect smile and of course, to see the teeth and establish a plan to treat any problems.
Every individual has different issues and demands, as well as different types of teeth and their own unique vision of what makes a beautiful smile. And so, all of this needs to be discussed in order to manage expectations and to be able to give the appropriate advice on treatment options.
Are there any preparation steps before professional whitening?
A dental hygiene clean is very important about a week in advance as this will give enough time for the gums to heal. Also, a desensitising, preferably herbal toothpaste twice a day in the run-up will be of benefit to shield and prepare the teeth from sensitivities.
Aesop toothpaste, Dhs45 Ounass
How far in advance before their wedding should brides-to-be start their teeth whitening journey?
Every bride has so much to do to prepare for her wedding so the sooner the better. I would recommend scheduling the dentist around the time she goes dress shopping (about 18-months before) so there is enough time for the dentist to complete a proper evaluation followed by the agreed treatment plan.
Results vary depending on the current colour of the patient’s enamel and dentin – so it may take a few sessions to get the exact whiteness the bride desires.
What are the actual ingredients used in teeth whitening formulas?
In general, most whitening uses hydrogen peroxide which bleaches the teeth. Three different bleaching approaches exist:
1. In-office or power bleaching at a dental clinic.
In-office bleaching generally uses relatively high levels of whitening agents, for example 25–35% hydrogen peroxide infused products, for shorter time periods. The whitening gel is applied to the teeth after protection of the soft tissue and the peroxide may be further activated by heat or light. The in-office treatment can result in significant whitening after only one treatment but may require multiple treatments for optimal whitening.
2. Dentist supervised night guard bleaching.
Night guard bleaching typically uses a relatively low level of whitening agent applied to the teeth via a custom fabricated mouth guard and is worn at night for at least two weeks.
3. Mass market bleaching products.
These products typically contain low levels of whitening agent (e.g. 3–6% hydrogen peroxide) that are self-applied to the teeth via gum shields, strips or paint-on formulas and typically require twice per day application for up to two weeks.
Smile Sciences teeth whitening kit, Dhs440, Revolve
Are there different kinds of in-office whitening treatments?
Yes, in addition to in-office whitening with hydrogen peroxide, a dentist has different treatments options that he or she can use depending on the patient’s needs.
UV light lamps and plasma lamps are used for activating the whitening gel, while lasers can also be used and offer terrific results especially for those with sensitive teeth. The lasers also act on the surface of teeth rendering the surface more reflective to light as well as more resistant to decay. Some lasers also act directly on any stain molecules having even better, cleaner-looking results.
Once a patient is assessed, if the dentist is experienced, he or she can tailor the treatment to use a combination of different lights and whitening gels to get the best possible results. When used in combination with a home whitening regime with trays, the results will be enhanced, stabilised and will last much longer.
What causes “zingers” or the sudden sharp pains that can occur in a tooth, post-treatment?
Teeth are alive and sophisticated organs which react to anything that comes into contact with them. Whitening agents release free oxygen to work on stains and this may disturb the nerve of the tooth, temporarily.
In addition, there may be microscopic cracks and/or a thin enamel layer, which may make some patients more prone to temporary sensitivity.
Certain lamps may cause a sharper rise in the nerve tooth temperature, which can lead to enhanced sensitivity. This is one of the benefits of using lasers – the amount of time the tooth is exposed to the laser does not exceed 30 seconds thus avoiding the rise of temperature in the nerve of the tooth – which causes this sensitivity/sharp pain.
But rest assured that any irritation is temporary and can be eased with mild anti-inflammatory medication.
Avoid extremely cold or hot food and beverages for a few days so as not to trigger response from teeth.
The use of a desensitising toothpaste twice a day will ease any sensitivity faster.
Typically, how long does teeth whitening last until a top-up is needed?
It depends on the maintenance regime of the patient. If a regular regime at home with whitening trays is used for several days after the actual teeth whitening is done, the results (when you follow the guidelines from a dental hygienist) can last up to five years.
If you avoid smoking and stain-inducing drinks and have touch-ups with whitening trays at home every six months, the results can be indefinite.
Are there any after-care steps post professional whitening?
Whitening toothpastes with hydroxyapatite can offer good maintenance results and benefit the health of enamel as hydroxyapatite is the substance that teeth are made of.
Beware of abrasive treatments trending online that use baking soda and lemon, as these methods are truly detrimental to the surface of the teeth.
What are the main causes of teeth yellowing/staining?
Teeth yellowing can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic staining is due to pharmaceuticals (like tetracyclines and fluoride) during the formation of teeth and extrinsic staining is due to iron intake or from consuming things like tea, coffee, brightly coloured food or smoking.
What is the best way to avoid teeth stains and keep teeth looking white?
Avoid coloured food and drinks that stain such as red grape juice or those that are caffeinated – drink water in between if you indulge in these culprits. Avoid smoking. Use toothpaste with protective and whitening properties preferably with hydroxyapatite. Schedule regular hygiene visits. And finally, touch-ups with whitening trays at home provided by the dentist can be brilliant to maintain white teeth well beyond your wedding day.
Visit Euromedclinicdubai.com to book a consultation with Dr Sofia Aravopoulou
Lead image: Carolina Herrera A/W20 by Jason Lloyd Evans