Because cosmetic whitening is such an easy and noninvasive procedure, many patients think they do not have to worry about aftercare instructions. However, if you want your procedure to be as successful as possible, consider the following tips.

Use the Right Toothpaste at the Right Time

Some people like to brush their teeth immediately after an appointment, but you should wait about half an hour before doing so. This gives your teeth time to remineralize. Gums can be sensitive immediately after as well, so you don't want to brush them and irritate the tissue.

Ask your dentist for toothpaste recommendations. He or she will likely suggest a toothpaste that is good for tooth and gum sensitivity. It's important that you choose a white toothpaste, as red or blue toothpaste can stain teeth during the first 24 hours. Besides brushing morning and night, it's a good idea to brush after eating for the first few days after the procedure.

Avoid Pigments

After your teeth are whitened, the teeth remain porous for about 24 to 72 hours. It's important that during this time, you abstain from habits like smoking, as they will stain the whitened teeth. Some patients are allowed to vape after, but you need to talk with your dentist to be sure.

You also should avoid brightly colored foods and drinks, such as coffee, fruit, and tomato paste. Your dentist can give you a list of which foods you can and cannot have. When in doubt, eat plain-looking foods such as eggs, yogurt, chicken, crackers, etc. Clear drinks, dairy products, white sauces, and starches are usually safe. Even after the first few days, you may want to use a straw whenever drinking fruit-flavored beverages, as it will help to keep your teeth whiter for longer.

Keep Drinks at Room Temperature

Teeth and gums can be highly sensitive after whitening. This sensitivity will go away with time, but to avoid uncomfortable sensations, avoid drinks with ice in them. You'll need to avoid hot drinks anyways because of their pigments, but even after the 72 hours, you may want to cut back until your teeth and gums are no longer sensitive.

Don't Overuse the Touch-up Pens

Some people touch up their teeth a lot, but this can increase sensitivity. If you have thin gums or receding gums, it's especially important to scale back touch-ups. Ask your dentist how often you may use the at-home trays or pens. Make sure that these accessories are prescribed by the dentist. Over-the-counter trays and strips aren't custom-fitted to your mouth, so it's easier for the gels to get on your gums and cause irritation.

For more aftercare tips, contact a cosmetic dentist at offices like New Image Dental.