Here are two tips to follow if you're considering asking your dentist to do a whitening treatment on your teeth.

Ask your dentist for a scale-and-polish first 

Before you make this request, you should first ask your dentist for a scale and polish treatment. The main reason you must do this is that it's possible that much of the yellowish or brown staining on your teeth, that may have prompted you to want a whitening treatment, could potentially be removed by the dentist when they clean your teeth. Their scaling instruments will get rid of any calculous that might be discolouring your teeth, whilst their polishing tools will remove a lot of the surface stains that may have been caused by you consuming coffee or tea.

After doing this, you might be fully satisfied with the improvement in the brightness of your teeth, to the point where you no longer feel the need to get the whitening treatment. Alternatively, you might decide that you only need to ask the dentist for a gentle whitening treatment, that involves the use of a very low dosage of hydrogen peroxide, instead of the higher dosage that you might have needed before having this cleaning treatment. This will be less likely to cause temporary tooth sensitivity which higher doses of hydrogen peroxide can.

Additionally, it's important to get a scale and polish first, even if you are determined to get the whitening treatment, as the whitening chemicals that the dentist uses might not be able to penetrate the areas of your teeth on which there is a layer of calculus. As such, if you don't have this removed first, your calculus-coated teeth might look less white than your other teeth.

Tell your dentist if you are (or plan to) use other at-home treatments to whiten your teeth

It's important to tell your dentist if you are currently using (or plan to use) at-home products to whiten your teeth, either in conjunction with the whitening treatment they'll be doing or afterwards. This is something you might be thinking about doing to try to get your teeth as white as they can be.

However, if you tell your dentist this, they might either advise you not to use any other whitening products (if they suspect that the combination of these products and the in-clinic whitening treatment might put your teeth at risk of enamel damage) or they might decide to provide you with a gentler in-clinic whitening treatment that will not cause gum irritation or tooth sensitivity when used alongside the at-home products you wish to use.