How to protect your brighter, whiter smile?

Stained and discoloured teeth can have a terrible effect on your self-confidence. Thankfully, professional dental whitening is a safe and effective solution to the problem, but it’s also somewhat expensive. If you opt for the treatment, it makes sense to take proper care of your teeth afterward, so that you protect your new smile from becoming stained all over again. Here’s what to do.

The First 48 Hours

Immediately after whitening treatment, the pores in your teeth enamel will be open, and at high risk of taking on new stains. Because of this, for the first two days after the procedure it’s important to follow the “white diet”, only eating and drinking relatively colorless items. Stick to water instead of soda or coffee, and if you enjoy a glass of wine, then choose white rather than red. Eat pale foods such as pasta or chicken, and avoid colorful ones such as carrots, chocolate, and red fruits.

Cut Back on Hot and Cold Drinks

Even after the enamel pores have closed again, it’s best to avoid drinking very hot or cold beverages for a week or two. Whitening treatments can cause temporary teeth sensitivity, which these drinks can make worse. If you do drink them, consider using a straw to minimize the contact between your teeth and the liquid. If tooth pain is a problem, use over-the-counter pain relief such as ibuprofen, but if the discomfort lasts more than a few days then speak to your dentist to rule out any underlying problems.

Reduce Smoking and Drinking

If your stained teeth were partly a result of drinking and smoking, then it makes sense to cut back on these activities as much as you can. Whitening is a one-shot process that doesn’t provide any future protection, and so it’s best to avoid the original causes if you want the results to last.

Be Careful with Cosmetics

If you wear lipstick or gloss, consider switching to a smudge-free formulation to reduce the chances of this highly staining substance being transferred to your new, brighter smile.

Use Whitening Mouthwash or Toothpaste

While whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are of limited use in actually reversing staining, they can be extremely effective for preventing new discolouration from building up again after whitening treatment. Consider switching from your usual dental hygiene products to ones containing mild whitening agents to help protect your smile.

Avoid Home Whitening Kits

Hopefully, your whitening treatment will leave you satisfied with the results. However, if you don’t feel that your new smile is quite white enough, don’t be tempted to buy a home whitening kit to add the finishing touch. Even carefully controlled professional whitening treatment can leave your teeth weakened for a while, and further treatment can cause permanent damage. If you’re genuinely unhappy, then speak to your dentist before trying anything on your own. We have top-up kits we can supply for use every 12 months to help maintain your teeth at their new shade.

Take Home Message

Professional whitening is highly effective and safe, but it doesn’t come without cost. After going through the expense and inconvenience of treatment, proper aftercare will help preserve the results while protecting your teeth for the future.

Dr. Gerald O'Connor B.D.S., N.U.I. (hons) (Principal Dentist & Owner)

Dr Gerald O’Connor qualified with honours from University College Cork in 1998, where he achieved his Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree and was awarded the Kerr Prize for Restorative Dentistry. Following his qualification, he spent 6 years gaining experience in a dental clinic in Essex before buying his own practice in 2004. Dr O’Connor quickly added a second location in 2006 and formed the Oak Dental Group.

After returning to Ireland in 2013, he set up Killiney Dental with his long-time partner Rosemarie. Gerald has a wealth of experience in dentistry with a vested interest in modern, evidence-based solutions. He enjoys implementing new dental treatments that are minimally invasive for patients without compromising their desire for an idealised smile. Dr O’Connor currently serves on the Irish Dental Association’s Quality and Patient Safety Committee. In his spare time, he enjoys films, music, fiction writing and being anywhere in sight of the sea.