Most brides meticulously plan their weddings down to the finest details. Whether it’s the dress, décor, cake or cuisine, everything is chosen with great care to create flawless celebrations that reflect unique tastes. These days, timely teeth whitening treatments are also becoming an increasingly popular part of the preparation process. If you’d like to brighten your smile before your big day, here’s what you should know.
Which Whitening Techniques Work Best?
Countless companies market all sorts of over-the-counter products that make big claims about their whitening capabilities. Most of these use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to bleach stains that can accumulate on the outer layer of a tooth’s enamel.
According to Consumer Reports, these products can do a decent job of lightening stains caused by cigarette smoking or heavily pigmented foods. However, over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments are not as effective as professional whitening treatments.
If you get a professional whitening treatment at a dentist’s office, you will have custom trays made to fit your teeth, which will provide more uniform results as well as protection for your gums. Professional whitening gel contains carbamide peroxide and is stronger than at-home bleaching agents. During a whitening procedure, the trays are worn for varying amounts of time depending on a number of factors including strength of the whitening agent and severity of the stains.
Some dentists also provide laser whitening treatments that take about 30 minutes. With these treatments, a gel is applied to the teeth and then activated by a laser. The dentist will then leave the solution on for a few extra minutes before removing it. He or she may offer to repeat the process until you are satisfied with the results.
When to Whiten
Whatever whitening treatment you choose, it’s best to plan ahead, so your teeth will be whitest on your wedding day. If you choose over-the-counter lightening gels, strips or gel-filled trays, you will typically need up to 14 days to see any results. You may want to start much earlier, however, in case you don’t get the results you hoped for.
While some professional whitening treatments can be administered in one session, it’s important to make arrangements with your dentist, so you can be sure you are able to get in for an appointment. Generally, it’s best to wait until a couple of weeks before your wedding, so you can be sure your teeth will be at their whitest. If you must get your treatment early on, be sure to avoid heavily pigmented foods foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, cola and red wine, since research has shown that these can all stain teeth after whitening treatments.
If you are unable to completely avoid stain-causing beverages, you can curb their discoloring effects by drinking through a straw.
Our helpful dental staff can help you determine which teeth whitening treatment is right for you.