Woman putting in whitening tray

Getting teeth whitened can be a good way to remove stains & enjoy a more confident smile. In order to get the most out of your treatment, it’s a good idea to have your teeth cleaned.

Bright Idea

Teeth whitening products work by introducing a bleaching agent that breaks down staining particles just under the enamel, usually using hydrogen peroxide or a similar chemical. If teeth have plaque buildup, the bleaching agent won’t be evenly distributed, & uneven or spotted whitening can be the result. 

A cleaning solves this by removing tough buildup—or calculus—from teeth that even brushing & flossing cannot remove. Buildup often occurs in concentrated spots where regular brushing is difficult & where food particles are more likely to settle. Getting a professional cleaning is quick—usually around a half hour—& painless, & there’s no need for recovery time before whitening. Cleaning can also make your teeth appear whiter without adding any other chemicals into the mix.

Optimal Appointments

If you are considering a professional bleaching by your dentist, they will advise you whether a cleaning is needed. Unless you have had one in the past week or two, chances are they will incorporate one into your care plan. 

At home, it’s best to keep track of a six-month cleaning schedule. As take-home bleaching can take weeks to complete, it can be worth it to hold off treatment until your next cleaning or see if you can get in a little early if there’s an event or occasion you would like a whiter smile for. 

Even if you have to schedule an extra cleaning for the year, it’s much easier than it may seem. Their relative speed is accompanied by an often affordable price tag. Insurance plans cover at least two per year & many offices offer specials on cleanings for uninsured patients.

Results from whitening are fairly immediate, though more than one treatment or strip may be needed to achieve a desired shade. Teeth can become more sensitive directly afterward, though this is temporary. 

The level of whitening varies for each person. If you’re unsure which whitening treatment is right for you, your dentist will be happy to discuss your options.





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