When Your Body Attacks Your Teeth: Combating Autoimmune Dental Problems

How Long Before The Wedding Day Should You Start Whitening Your Teeth?

If you want your smile to look it's best when you're saying "I do," then whitening your teeth should be at the top of your wedding preparation list. But how far before the big day should you start teeth whitening treatments? The answer varies depending on a number of factors, and here are three you should take into account when starting a whitening regimen.

How Stained Are Your Teeth?

It stands to reason that the worse the tooth discoloration, the longer it will take to whiten them to the shade you want. Even professional laser cleanings in a dentist office only lighten teeth five or six shades, so you'll likely need to undergo multiple sessions if your teeth are really dark. And the dentist will usually want to space those sessions out over a few weeks to let your teeth recover between treatments.

The easiest way to figure out your tooth shade is to consult with a cosmetic dentist, since they have shade guides they use to determine how discolored your teeth are, the shade you want them to be, and the number of treatments required to reach that goal. However, some over-the-counter whitening products also have shade cards you can use to approximate how long it'll take to get the results you want and chart your progress.

Alternatively, you can also print out a tooth shade chart from various websites and use that to plan when to start your whitening treatments.

What Method Will You Be Using?

A second thing you'll need to factor in is the teeth whitening method you want to use. The fastest way to reach your goal is to undergo treatment by a cosmetic dentist. As noted previously, laser teeth whitening will strip away up to six layers of stains per session, and each session typically only takes up to 60 minutes to complete. Since most people only need one or two sessions, you could wait to have the procedure done one to two weeks before your big day.

If laser teeth whitening doesn't appeal to you, for financial or other reasons, there are numerous other ways you can brighten your teeth. However, some of these methods can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to produce results. For example, it can take up to six weeks to obtain lighter teeth using whitening toothpaste.

Research the whitening method you want to use to determine how long it will take to get the shade you desire. Keep in mind, though, some methods aren't as effective as others and will only produce limited results. So be sure to factor that in when making your choice.

What Are Your Lifestyle Habits?

Depending on the method you use, the effects of teeth whitening can last three years. Trouble is, your lifestyle habits can greatly affect how long your teeth will stay pearly white. Certain foods (e.g. wine, coffee), behaviors (e.g. smoking), and medications (e.g. antihistamines, blood pressure meds) will discolor teeth. Thus, your white smile may dim a little by the time your wedding date rolls around if you consume any of these products. At the very least, your lifestyle habits may negatively impact the effectiveness of certain types of whitening treatments. For instance, it may take even longer for whitening toothpaste to work.

The best course of action here is to avoid problematic lifestyle habits or make adjustments whenever possible. For instance, you may want to refrain from drinking coffee or use a straw when you do so the liquid doesn't touch your front teeth. Another option is to time your treatments so they are completed as close to your wedding day as possible to avoid undoing all your hard work before it's time to show off your smile.

For help with this or other tooth whitening issues, contact a dentist such as Kyle J Frisinger DMD.