Post Whitening Care Instructions
Congratulations! You’ve just experienced a revolutionary whitening procedure. The next 48 hours are important in enhancing and maximizing your whitening results for a long lasting bright and healthy smile.
Your teeth may be sensitive to cold for the first 24 hours and that will settle down, if it bothers you taking any medication like Advil or Tylenol helps. White spots on the teeth immediately after whitening is normal and will fade and disappear after the first day, this holds true with white gums as well.
Take home trays that you take with you can be used to either boost the whitening after two days or as a touch-up in the future. Please use the whitening gel as instructed by the office staff, or follow directions on the package.
For the next 48 hours and after any whitening procedure (including take-home trays) dark staining substances should be avoided, such as
Additional ways to maintain your sparkling smile:
Whitening VS. Sensitivity
There is always a thin line when it comes to tooth sensitivity and gingival sensitivity. As much of a warning we give to the patients, it can’t be 100% explained without the background facts to assist with better understanding. At the office, we do ZOOM which is a chairside whitening procedure that takes 1.5 hours to complete with immediate results. In order for this to happen, we must use a higher percentage/grade of hydrogen peroxide not recommended for taking home. Time and percentage go hand and hand when it comes to precision and our patients’ health, which is why it is very important to apply within the guidelines and understand the science behind it all.
There are two types of whitening gel, carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has less effect when it comes to tooth sensitivity as to hydrogen peroxide because carbamide is an oral antiseptic solution designed to be applied to the tissue. Just like any whitening gel, the higher the concentration of the material, the more the tray needs to be trimmed and the greater the risk of tooth sensitivity. The lowest concentration of carbamide available is 10% which is equivalent to 3.5% of a hydrogen peroxide solution. Here in the office, we use a 25% hydrogen peroxide whitening gel for chairside and 22% carbamide for the take-home trays.
Since the hydrogen peroxide gel is 25% and not meant to be applied to the tissue it is very important to avoid or remove any that touches the surface. Just the smallest amount can set off a “zinger” feeling and sensitivity is instant. One helpful tip for chairside whitening to reduce the risk of zingers is to apply a desensitizing gel before applying liquid followed by drying with air. The gel can also be applied after the procedure as well, which is key since the procedure consists of four 15 minute sessions. Even though the whitening is set on an automatic timer, if the patient is feeling any sensation we can stop the procedure at any time. Usually, after 5 minutes, the tingling sensation goes away.
We also provide bleaching trays that come with a whitening gel (carbamide) and also the desensitizing gel. It does not take much carbamide to whiten teeth but the tray is key because it isolates the material from the saliva. A small amount should be applied to the inner wall of the tooth mold and any excess should be wiped away from gingiva is concentration is higher than 10% carbamide. It is not recommended to apply gel directly to the teeth using a q-tip unless the tray is immediately placed since the material loses its effectiveness without protection from the tray. Carbamide can be worn overnight for a minimum of 2-4 hours while hydrogen peroxide is only active for 30 to 60 minutes.
The level of sensitivity is not only distinguished between carbamide and hydrogen peroxide, there are also a few factors that have a huge effect on the treatment. Sometimes sensitivity is caused (gingival irritation) by the flavor of the bleaching material as well. This has been shown to happen in women more than men, but the chances exist for both parties. Banana flavor has been cross-linked to latex allergies and mint flavor may cause a reaction. Some materials contain gluten which can cause sensitivity as well. Ingredients are a big part of the whitening system, and surprisingly experimenting with flavors may help reduce sensitivity.
Patients can manage sensitivity by reducing the frequency of application like skipping 1 to 2 nights of treatment per week and the duration of treatment by limiting wear time. The best material for addressing sensitivity is 5% potassium nitrate which can be found in desensitizing toothpaste. Applying with a whitening tray and worn for 10 to 30 minutes before or after the bleaching treatment will help the patient have a better experience.
It is very important to deliver options to help patients with sensitivity because even though they may not feel it in-office, they still need to understand the risk when they apply applications at home as well. These are the key tips to help deliver a successful whitening procedure and ensure the patient will have brilliant results when they leave the office and continue their full treatment at home.