Teeth whitening is a safe way to brighten your smile and boost your confidence. It is a quick, easy and inexpensive solution to improve the appearance of your teeth without restorations or complex treatment, making it one of the most popular choices for patients seeking cosmetic dentistry.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that involves bleaching the teeth in order to lighten them. This is often done to remove stains and discolouration and make the teeth look a few shades whiter.
All teeth whitening products contain an active ingredient called peroxide, which comes as either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the bleaching agent is broken down, the peroxide penetrates the microscopic pores in tooth enamel to lift away stains and brighten teeth, while leaving the structure of your tooth unchanged.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
The bleach in teeth whitening treatments soaks through the enamel’s top layer and reacts with the coloured molecules that cause stains. The bleach breaks these molecules down and separates them, resulting in whiter looking teeth.
What is Teeth Whitening Gel?
Teeth whitening gel is a clear gel containing peroxide that can be used to remove stains and discolouration on teeth. It can usually be purchased either over the counter or from the dentist and is also used in professional teeth whitening treatments.
Teeth whitening gel, sometimes referred to as bleaching gel, should be used in combination with a pre-filled tray in order to avoid bleaching the gums as well.
Types of Teeth Whitening Treatments
Teeth whitening is a very popular cosmetic dental procedure because it is efficient and effective. It’s also much more affordable than other cosmetic procedures (such as getting veneers).
There are a range of professional teeth whitening treatments available, both in-office and at-home.
Alternative remedies, such as over-the-counter treatments, are also available and may be suitable for you.
Take Home Teeth Whitening
Take-home whitening is most suitable for those who prefer to whiten their teeth at home or at their convenience. A take-home whitening kit should usually include a custom-made whitening tray that fits your teeth and avoids your gums, and carbamide peroxide whitening gel for at-home whitening.
Your dentist will instruct you on how to use the bleaching solution with the tray and for what length of time.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening, also known as in-chair teeth whitening, is carried out in the dental chair in around an hour. Our first step to whitening your teeth is placing a lip and cheek guard in your mouth to keep your mouth open and tongue away from the whitening gel. Next, Dr Daniel will apply a protective barrier to the gums to reduce irritation and sensitivity. Then, a professional-strength hydrogen peroxide whitening gel is placed on the surfaces of the teeth, accelerating the whitening procedure. This process can be repeated within the same visit up to three times to achieve the desired results.
Some people may experience some mild discomfort and sensitivity during treatment but these side effects will soon resolve. You may need future treatments to ensure your smile remains white and bright. Many patients have reported results lasting up to 2-3 years. In-chair whitening may often be followed by a take-home whitening kit, this allows the process to continue at home for the brightest results.
Internal bleaching is also available for those who require a more intensive procedure. This involves opening up the tooth to insert a chemical oxidising agent.
Instant Teeth Whitening
In-chair teeth whitening is the preferred method for a number of patients because it provides instant results after just one treatment.
Dr Daniel Tan is an expert in teeth whitening treatments, and can make the process as convenient for you as possible. Get in touch with us today on 02 9680 4311 to book a consultation.
Am I Suitable for Teeth Whitening?
A good candidate for teeth whitening should have healthy teeth and gums and be realistic about their expectations for the procedure. You will have an initial consultation in which the dentist will examine your mouth and determine whether this treatment is right for you. If there are signs of tooth decay, gum disease or an underlying health issue, then this will need to be addressed before undergoing the teeth whitening procedure.
Stains and discolouration caused by food and drink (especially coffee, tea and red wine), tobacco or poor oral hygiene can be improved with a teeth whitening treatment. Discolouration caused by injury or trauma to the tooth, a health condition or medication may not be improved by this procedure.
How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?
The price of teeth whitening will vary depending on your chosen treatment method. In-chair treatments will usually be more expensive than at-home treatments.
How Much is Teeth Whitening at a Dentist?
The cost of professional teeth whitening depends on a number of factors, including:
- The condition of your teeth
- How many teeth you are having whitened
- The location of the procedure and the dentist performing it
- The type of procedure you choose
In-chair treatments will usually cost upwards of $600, while at-home treatments will cost upwards of $350.
How Much is Teeth Whitening in Sydney
The cost of professional teeth whitening in Sydney is usually not covered by most health funds, because it is a cosmetic treatment. Our dentists will discuss all the included costs with you in your initial consultation and help to answer any questions that you may have. Contact us to book your appointment today.
Over-the-counter treatments can be a much more affordable option but may not be as effective as a dental procedure.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
The results of in-chair teeth whitening treatments will usually last for 2-3 years, so you will need to have regular treatments to maintain the colour. In order to make the treatment last longer, you should avoid foods and drinks that are known to stain teeth.
Smokers may need to have more regular treatments than non-smokers, because tobacco can quickly reverse the effects of the teeth whitening treatment.
Other Teeth Whitening Methods
There are a number of alternative methods to professional teeth whitening procedures. Some people may find it more convenient to use at-home or over-the-counter methods so that they can control when and where they perform the treatment. Alternative methods to professional teeth whitening may be less effective and
Teeth Whitening Trays
You can have teeth whitening trays custom made at the dentist, or you can purchase DIY kits that mould to your teeth according to your body temperature. No LED light is required for this procedure, but you may need to use a desensitising toothpaste before you begin treatment.
You will be provided with the tray as well as bleaching gel and you will likely need to use both of them together for 5-6 hours a day, 4-5 nights a week for 3 weeks.
Baking Soda Teeth Whitening
Baking soda contains natural whitening properties and may help to remove surface stains on teeth. It’s recommended to use toothpaste containing a high concentration of baking soda as opposed to plain baking soda, but you can use a combination of baking soda and water if you choose to.
Bicarb soda teeth whitening can help to prevent bacteria from growing in your mouth, and the baking soda is also a mild abrasive that can help to scrub away stains.
Another method is to make a mixture of strawberries and baking soda and then brush your teeth with this. This may help to exfoliate your teeth, but there is not much evidence to suggest that it is a successful whitening agent.
Teeth Whitening Strips
Whitening strips contain an active bleach ingredient that has been manufactured into a flexible gel-like substance on the surface of the plastic strip. When you use whitening strips, the gel has to transfer to your teeth in order to start the bleaching process.
Teeth whitening strips are a much cheaper alternative to in chair whitening procedures and may be effective if used consistently.
Whitening toothpaste can be effective for removing surface stains, especially those caused by food or drinks. However, it may not be able to penetrate the tooth’s surface to remove deeper stains.
Natural Teeth Whitening
There are a few methods using ingredients with natural healing properties that have been suggested for at-home teeth whitening. Often, the effectiveness of natural methods is arguable.
Turmeric Teeth Whitening
When used for teeth whitening, turmeric can also help to calm inflamed gums and reduce your risk of gum disease for some people. To use this method, you should dip your toothbrush into a little bit of turmeric powder (after you’ve poured it out of the container), brush your teeth with this and then let the powder sit on your teeth for a few minutes. Then, rinse your mouth with water and brush again with normal toothpaste.
Coconut Oil Teeth Whitening
There is some evidence to suggest that coconut oil can be used to clean and whiten teeth for some people. You can do this through the practice of ‘oil pulling’, which is a traditional Indian folk remedy. To do this, simply swish the coconut oil around in your mouth a few times so that it gets in between your teeth.
Which Teeth Whitening Method Should I Choose?
The teeth whitening method that best suits you will depend on your personal goals and priorities. If you prefer the ease of flexibility and convenience you may prefer an at-home method, whereas if you’re looking for instant, noticeable results you may choose a professional procedure.
Teeth Whitening Risks and Downsides
Teeth whitening is a very commonly performed procedure that is unlikely to cause any permanent damage, but there are some possible side effects associated with it.
If you have any tooth decay, you shouldn’t attempt to whiten your teeth because the bleaching agent can irritate teeth with cavities.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Teeth whitening is a very safe procedure, however it is not recommended if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Is teeth whitening bad for smokers?
Discolouration as a result of smoking creates extrinsic stains on the teeth, which can be removed through teeth whitening procedures. However, if the person continues to smoke, this may create new stains and undo the effects of the teeth whitening treatment.
Does Teeth Whitening Damage Teeth?
Teeth whitening does not have many risks associated with it, but it can damage teeth if the procedure is not done correctly. Improper or excessive use of teeth whitening products can erode the enamel on your teeth due to the concentration of bleach. Tooth sensitivity as a result of teeth whitening is also usually temporary but could become permanent.
Teeth Whitening Side Effects
The most common side effect of teeth whitening is a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity. If you experience this, you may wish to stop using the teeth whitening products for a few days in order to allow your teeth to adjust.
It’s also possible to experience gum irritation - this is usually the result of an ill fitting tray or improper use of the bleaching gel. Getting your tray properly fitted by a dentist can help to avoid this.
Teeth Whitening Before and After: What to Expect
Professional teeth whitening can remove stains and discolouration caused by food and drinks like tea and coffee and help your teeth become up to eight shades whiter after just one session. If you have an accurate understanding of the procedure, you can expect to see results that will improve your confidence for years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening
Can I make teeth whitening paste?
There are a few different suggested recipes for teeth whitening paste but the most common one is to combine 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of water. You can use this to brush your teeth, but results are not guaranteed.
What is a teeth whitening pen?
A teeth whitening pen is a portable brush pen that contains whitening gel. These are designed to be used to provide instant but temporary last minute improvements to your teeth.
Does charcoal teeth whitening work?
There is not enough evidence to say whether activated charcoal is effective for whitening teeth or not. It may help to remove or minimise some surface stains.
What is laser teeth whitening?
Laser teeth whitening is a procedure that is sometimes added to the process of in-chair professional teeth whitening. It involves heating the bleaching gel with a laser after it has been applied, in order to speed up the process and enhance the results.
Do teeth whitening strips work?
Teeth whitening strips are usually effective, but may not act as fast or last as long as in-office procedures. The overuse of teeth whitening strips can also cause damage to your teeth.
Is teeth whitening safe for kids?
Teeth whitening may be appropriate for kids over the age of 12, as long as they have lost all of their baby teeth. You should consult your child’s dentist before using any at-home teeth whitening products.
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Teeth whitening is a safe way to brighten your smile and boost your confidence. It is a quick, easy and inexpensive solution to improve the appearance of your teeth.
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