Recently I performed a bleaching to a patient, and I gave the classical/normal instructions, but I realised that what is clear to me, might not be that clear to a patient, so let’s say you just chair-bleached your teeth or are/were home bleaching your teeth, what should you do now?
First, sensitivity is normal, especially with cold or warm for the first few days, tipically the first 2-3 days, but can lasts to up to 7-14 days; if it still continues or it become a pulsating pain, contact your dentist. The reason for this sensitivity is that the oxidation process which allowed to bleach your teeth, will continue for few days and that mean that your teeth will become even whiter!
In order to reduce sensitivity, avoid too cold or too hot foods or acidic food, like vinegar, sour cream, yoghurt (especially if not white), sour food/fruit, such as berries,oranges,lemons or citrus fruits in general or tomatoes. The same goes to mint and chilly.
Toothpaste against sensitivity like “colgate pro-relief” or “sensodyne rapid” are a good options until the sensitivity disappears or even better, use it before it appears. And as always use an extrasoft/ultrasoft toothbrush from a recognised brand, such as “Curaprox 5460 Ultrasoft” and don’t forget to floss/using interdental brushes.
Transatlantic fligths/jet fligths or scubadiving can also temporary increase the sensitivity/pain, so even if it is not completely contraindicated, it is better to avoid them if possible for at least the first few days.
Discomfort of the gums, lips, throat or tongue is also a possibility, if it persist for longer of 2-3 days, contact tour dentist. In times of covid-19 extra rules apply, so in case of sore throat, contact your dentist and book a covid-19 test.
Avoid food that stains, tipically examples are coffe and tea who must be avoided for at least 7-14 days and it is better to avoid even later to guarantee a long lasting effect. There is no reason to bleach your teeth if you are covering them with a layer of stains, especially if you are used to have stained teeth. Maybe it’s the moment to stop over indulge in tea and coffe, in the same way if you smoke, maybe it’s the right time to stop smoking or reducing the amount of cigarettes/pipes/marijuana/e-cigarettes you use and actually bleaching can be a good motivation to try to stop smoking.
Avoid colourants, as a rule, anything that would be difficult to remove from a white t-shirt, such as tomato juice (both acidic and a colourant), red wine and cocktails in general with fancy colours, evcerything that is transparent is better, but might be acidic, the same goes for beer. All juices/centrifugates should also be avoided. Liquorice is also better to avoid, especially the salmiak type (so typical in Scandinavia). What about chocolate, better not, even if not completely contraindicated, it is not that good for your teeth. Other less typical colourants are curry/curcuma/beetroot/carrots/ black ink from squid
In conclusion: just drink water for at least 14 days and avoid smoking and avoid eating anything that is sour/too cold/too hot or with colours for at least the first few days. Foods that are normally allowed are e.g. pasta (not the one with fancy colours), potatoes (not the blue variety), meat, white fish, hard cheese and bread.
If you home bleached your teeth and you still have some whitening gel left, you can store it in the fridge in a dark container (so the light will not reach it), but ask to your dentist when it is the best time to re-bleach your teeth.
The effect of bleaching will last for few months in general form 3-9 months, depending on your smoking/drinking/eating and dental hygiene habits and it is generally safe to bleach your teeth once per year.
For any question, contact your dentist and remember to book an appointment for the next check-up with your dentist and enjoy your new beautiful smile!