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Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening Methods

Teeth whitening has been around for a long time and there are many ways that it can be achieved, depending on how long you want it to take and how much you are prepared to spend.

Before we look at the most popular methods in use today, we need to first answer the following question:

What causes tooth discolouration?

The outermost layer of our teeth is enamel. They start out being a sparkling white porcelain like thick enamel. However, as time goes by the enamel eventually wears down and becomes more transparent and the yellow coloured dentine layer begins to show through.

The most common causes of severe tooth staining (discolouration) are things like smoking, heavy consumption of coffee, tea and red wine, certain medications, excessive fluoride exposure and overall poor oral hygiene.

Bleaching Agents

Hydrogen and Carbamide Peroxide are the most common active bleaching agents in tooth whitening products. The effective concentration can be anywhere from around 3% to over 30%.

The ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) prohibits more than 6% Hydrogen Peroxide or 18% Carbamide Peroxide for home use teeth whitening products as advised by the ADA (Australian Dental Association).

Teeth Whitening
ADA - Seal Of Approval

Purchasing Teeth Whitening Products

When visiting your local major supermarket or pharmacy you will generally be greeted by a myriad of teeth whitening products such as Toothpaste, Strips, or Home Kits. Trying to work out the ones that work versus the ones that don’t can be quite challenging. This goes the same for when you are looking online for the above products.

Certain products will have the ADA Seal of Approval, which means that they are safe and effective to use along with ensuring that any advertising claims have been substantiated.

Popular Teeth Whitening Methods

Toothpaste

Price Range: Approximately $4 to $50

This is the cheapest and slowest process of the available whitening products. Most of the popular brands (Sensodyne, Colgate, Crest, Macleans, White Glo, etc) recommend twice a day use for approximately 3-6 weeks before you will notice any type of result.

Generally, they contain abrasive agents that polish and chemicals that assist in the breakdown of tough stains and prevent further discolouration. However, they take a long time to produce any noticeable results and can possibly cause other issues such as inflamed gums, sensitive teeth and in some cases cause bleeding within the stomach and oesophagus should the bleaching agent be ingested.

Teeth Whitening - Whitening Toothpastes
Teeth Whitening - Whitening Strips

Strips

Price Range: Approximately $8 to $60

If you are time poor or budget conscious then whitening strips might be the way to go. The strips work ok on light to moderate stains and the results last from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. The strips contain a bleaching agent that you stick to your upper and lower teeth for up to an hour each day for approximately 1 to 2 weeks.

Some of the recommended brands are: Oral-B 3D White Whitestrips, Crest 3D White Whitestrips, CleverWhite Dissolving Whitening Strips and Perfect Whitening Strips Advanced Luxe.

Take Home Kits

Price Range: Approximately $45 to $200

Home based teeth whitening kits are usually used when you have heavier stains on your teeth. Moulded trays are normally worn for up to an hour a day for one to two weeks to achieve the desired result. A special light is used to speed up the process of removing the discolouration. Once the procedure is completed results can last from 6 to 24 months (with maintenance).

Some of the recommended brands are: Brighter White, Kapow Smiles, Advanced Teeth Whitening, Perfect Whitening

Tip: For best results make sure that the home whitening kit uses peroxide before purchasing.

Note: Make sure that you read, understand and follow the instructions within each kit as not doing so can possibly damage your teeth and gums.

Warning: If you have sensitive teeth, please visit your dentist first to ensure that there are no other dental issues that need to be addressed first.

Teeth Whitening - Home Kits

Teeth Whitening - Dental Office

Teeth Whitening - Before & After

In Chair Whitening (IE: Dental Office – Zoom Procedure)

Price Range: $300 to $1000

The Benefit of “In Chair Whitening” is that a qualified Dentist can help the patient explore all cosmetic dental options should teeth whitening not be an effective option.
IE: Porcelain or Resin Veneers, Tooth Shaping, gum lifts, tooth coloured fillings, etc.

This is the professional way to have immediate & long-lasting results, however it does come at a cost. This procedure takes around an hour at a Dental Office as it uses much higher concentrations of the whitening agent. The results can last anywhere from 1 – 3 Years (with maintenance).

A basic check-up is performed first to assess the health of your teeth and to make sure that they are suitable for the whitening procedure. A clean and polish is done to remove built up plaque and a mould of your teeth is created. The dentist prepares your teeth and covers your gums to avoid any whitening gel making contact. The gel is carefully applied to your teeth and a special light is used to speed up the process of removing stains and discolouration.

Once the procedure is completed the dentist will give you a whitening kit and the previous made moulds to take home and maintain the brilliant smile you have just achieved.

Note: For severely discoloured teeth there is a dental procedure called Smartbleach KTP Laser System. The results can last for up to 5 years, however you can expect to pay anything up to $1500 for the procedure.

Possible Side Effects of Teeth Whitening Treatments

Temporary increase of sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch

Gum irritation due to the whitening agent accidentally making contact

Teeth Whitening – Pro and Cons

Summary

As you can see there is a myriad of options available when it comes to teeth whitening. However, patients with decayed teeth, infected gums, multiple tooth-coloured fillings, etc on their front teeth may not be good candidates for teeth whitening, but there are other cosmetic options available.

If you live on the Sunshine Coast (Noosa) and would like more information regarding teeth whitening, or any other oral health questions feel free to give our team at “The Dental Junction” a call on 07 5473 5117 or contact us via the Website.

PS: We will be following up this article with another that focuses entirely on natural remedies for teeth whitening.

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