Professional tooth whitening can be the start of a journey to the smile you have always wanted. It can be used to give your smile a “fresher” appearance, or it can set the stage for long-term porcelain or composite veneers. It is the single most common question we get asked in the clinic, closely followed by veneers in fact!
Our Teeth whitening is the perfect solution for people who need to have their sparkly smile from their white teeth back. Regular In-chair teeth whitening is a non-invasive dental treatment that lifts stains from the pores of teeth and lightens the colour of natural tooth enamel, leading to the appearance of whiter, brighter teeth.
It is by by far, the quickest dental solution for whitening teeth and removing or reducing stains and discolouration. It typically involves the application of whitening product directly onto the teeth and the use of heat, a special light or laser to activate and/or accelerate the whitening agent. Results are typically achieved within one 30-60 minute dental appointment.
Why do teeth stain?
Our modern diet consists of strongly stained food and drink which we consume on a daily basis, and often in large quantities. Fruit that was once seasonal, like blueberries, is now accessible year-long, and party treats such as chocolate or soft-drinks are becoming daily events.
Coffee and tea make the foundation of most people’s morning routines. With this in mind, teeth are not solid structures but rather a lattice of minerals. Exposure to a high quantity of staining foods over a long period of time allows both natural and artificial pigments to absorb into the outer layer of the tooth (enamel).
As less light is able to shine through the tooth due to the staining pigments embedded in the surface, the tooth starts to appear dull and discoloured; what we call external staining. Whilst toothbrushing helps, most deep stains cannot be removed from the enamel without professional assistance.
On the other hand, some stains can also be built into the tooth structure, making them internal staining. This can occur for several reasons, including trauma to the tooth, antibiotic use, genetic factors and very high fluoride doses during childhood.
Why do I need teeth whitening?
Professional tooth whitening is used either on its own, or as an adjunct to cosmetic treatment. Most often we find that patients with minimal health concerns will express an interest in tooth whitening after noticing some discolouration following a period of heavy coffee drinking.
In this case, we often provide In-Chair Whitening or Take-Home Whitening kits with minimal additional treatment. On the other hand, we also recommend professional tooth whitening to increase the likelihood of achieving a cosmetic result in circumstances such as smile makeovers.
This may be prior to composite or porcelain veneers as, to achieve the best aesthetic result, the foundation of the tooth must be as light and as free of discolouration as possible. As with all cosmetic procedures, we are guided by your end goal in mind, and will recommend professional tooth whitening accordingly.
What teeth whitening options do you offer?
For those of you who cannot commit to a two weekly whitening schedule and would like immediate results, we offer same day professional whitening. The two machines we have available are Philips Zoom! and Smartbleach 3LT.
Your dentist will recommend a particular whitening system after reviewing the depth of staining, sensitivity, overall health of your teeth. This appointment is approximately 1.5-2 hours long, and you can expect instant results.
Should you require it, we may provide you with complimentary take-home whitening trays to top-up your colour as needed, especially prior to ongoing cosmetic treatment such as veneers.
For those of you who are time-poor or have particularly sensitive teeth, we offer our Take-Home Whitening kits. Our product of choice is SDI Pola Day, which is placed in the custom-made trays we give you twice a day for 30 minutes, over a period of 1-2 weeks.
Your expected results often rival In-Chair Whitening, however with significantly reduced sensitivity.
In-Office vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening
In-office whitening happens at the dental office by our trained clinicians, often in only one visit. The process begins by applying concentrated whitening gel to your teeth, which may need activation by special blue light.
Ultimately, in-office whitening can provide both reliable and safe results that can last for a long time. This is suitable for people who want the best results in the shortest time.
At-home whitening is an affordable alternative. We can provide gel trays for you to use in the comfort of your home.
What is the process for booking in teeth whitening?
To ensure the best cosmetic result and maintain the health of your teeth, a consultation with the dentist is mandatory prior to any whitening treatment. During this consultation, the dentist will assess the health of your teeth and gums, depth and type of staining, and what your expected result may be. They will recommend a whitening system based on your particular case. Following this appointment, we always recommend a thorough clean – we want to be whitening your teeth not the plaque on top!
Should you wish to proceed with whitening, we either take impressions for your custom-made trays on the day, or book you in for a separate In-Chair Whitening appointment on a different day. Your custom-made trays as part of the Take-Home Whitening kit are usually available within the next several business days for pick-up.
Is it better to get my teeth whitening at the dentist or online?
In a professional dental setting, the dentists must adhere to strict procedural guidelines regarding whitening teeth with carbamide or hydrogen peroxide.
The dosage and application of these products is closely monitored, and you are always screened for suitability prior to the procedure. This is obviously not possible when using products sourced online or from the pharmacy. We advise our patients to be mindful what products and treatments they feel comfortable undertaking that are not under professional supervision.
Is teeth whitening safe?
Clinical studies have shown that should the correct procedural guidelines be followed and patient suitability assessed appropriately, teeth whitening using carbamide or hydrogen peroxide administered by a dental practitioner is safe for teeth and gums.
Nonetheless, common side effects can include sensitivity and irritation of the gums, lips and tongue, most of which dissipate within the first 1-2 days. Patients have frequently voiced that In-Chair Whitening can be particularly stingy during the appointment and in the following evening, usually resolving with over-the-counter pain killers by the next day.
Does Teeth Whitening Always Work?
Not necessarily. If your teeth have dense brown or gray tones, whitening products may not produce satisfying results.
Besides, teeth whitening works only on natural teeth; it won’t be effective against stained fillings, crowns, or veneers.
Whenever in doubt, it’s better to book an in-office whitening session. We can tell you whether the treatment will be useful or not before starting.
How long does teeth whitening last for?
Professional tooth whitening can be expected to last anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Similarly, to the initial staining, subsequent staining post whitening is also subject to the frequency and quantity of staining food and drink, as well as lifestyle factors such as smoking.
It is recommended to reduce as many staining factors as possible to extend the longevity of your whitening.
Things to Avoid After Whitening Your Teeth
It’s crucial to avoid exposing your teeth to the things that stained them in the first place. Here’s a quick rundown of things you should avoid during the first weeks following your treatment:
Coloured beverages: red wine, coffee, tea, sodas, fruit juices, beer, etc.
Red and soy sauces
Curry, paprika, and turmeric
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and mangoes
Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries
Milk and dark chocolate
Tobacco, both chewed and smoked
Find out more about other cosmetic dentistry services offered by Sydney Road Dental Care