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Teeth Whitening: What Works, What Doesn’t?

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Does teeth whitening really work?  Teeth whitening products are everywhere these days. Local chemists, supermarkets and many online sites all have teeth whitening kits. Shopping centre kiosks offer whitening treatments done on the same trip as your weekly groceries.

With so many options, you’re definitely thinking – Will any of these work for me? How are they different? Which does the best job? Which offers the best value?

Before you brighten your smile with teeth whitening, there are things you need to know.

Who is teeth whitening for? 

Oh man! Unfortunately, so many delicious things stain teeth. Life-giving dark beverages like coffee and tea. That blissful glass of red wine on a Friday night can all lead to stained teeth. The horrible news doesn’t end there either! Pasta sauce, curry and berries are also culprits that mercilessly discolour the micropores on your teeth.

The great news! Teeth whitening procedures can reverse the effects of these delicious but discolouring delights.

Who is teeth whitening NOT for?

There are a few instances when you’ll need to use other methods to get the results you’re after.

Whitening products won’t work on veneers or crowns made of porcelain or composite (tooth coloured material). Replacement is the only option if they get stained, so take great care of them.

Stains that are ‘inside out’ that originate from the root of the tooth have limited effect with tooth bleaching.

Tetracycline stains caused by antibiotics taken in childhood are common. These are very difficult to fix with teeth bleaching. Veneers are the most effective way to cover up dark Tetracycline stains.

If you have a discoloured non-vital tooth from past trauma, like being hit with a tennis racket or an accident, the only thing that may help is internal bleaching done by a dentist.  This is different to regular tooth whitening procedures.  Whitening gel is placed inside the tooth after a small opening is made, this normally takes a few weeks and may require several tops ups of the whitening gel.

Bleach strength is important for dramatic results 

The active ingredients used when whitening is the best determinant of results. Use of a “special” light, not so much. Stronger concentrations achieve more dramatic results in a shorter amount of time.

As of 2013 in Australia, only dentists are permitted to use solutions greater than 6% Hydrogen Peroxide. (or 18% carbamide peroxide). The Poisons Standard changed after increasing injuries from non-dentists using the stronger products.

Whitening your teeth at a kiosk or a salon may improve your smile. Yet, it won’t be as dramatic as the results when whitened by your dentist.

Your dentist is able to combine stronger ingredients with a light system and they also have access to powerful products to get the job done quickly. In an hour you can get teeth whitening that’s 8-12 shades lighter, producing results salons and kiosks can’t match. That’s why it’s called “power bleaching.”

Custom trays for at home ‘tops ups’

After your teeth whitening, you can use custom-made trays with gel. Treatments take 15 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the gel your dentist recommends. This prolongs your results and helps your teeth stay whiter for longer.

Your dentist can provide custom-made trays that fit your teeth like a glove. Unlike the plastic trays that you mould by placing in a mug of boiling water.

The dentist takes a mould of your mouth with ‘impression material’. This process allows the dentist to create a stone replica of your mouth.

Custom trays for the bleaching gel need to fit perfectly, allowing it to be evenly distributed around your teeth. A precise fit protects your gums from the bleaching gel too.

Trays moulded with boiling water don’t fit as snug or as comfortably as custom-made trays. As a result, they may fail to deliver an even result or adequate protection for your gums. 

Are your teeth healthy for whitening?

Tooth decay, bleeding gums or strong plaque build-up? It’s recommended to get a dental check-up before conducting any teeth whitening. Your dentist should treat any of these before you whiten your teeth.

Someone who isn’t a dentist may not see or address dental health issues that may cause you unnecessary harm or pain.

Your dentist will also have a better understanding of which stains will respond to bleaching. Teeth whitening cannot remove all stains and it’s expensive to find this out after you’ve already paid.

When considering teeth whitening options, it is tempting to use cheaper, convenient options. However, only a dentist can identify any dental issues that may cause complications, work with products strong enough to obtain dramatic results and provide you with a custom tray that comfortably protects your gums. Cheaper options won’t get the same amazing results or provide the same level of care as your dentist.

Whiter teeth fast at TL Dental, Port Macquarie

If you want whiter teeth quickly, the best option is to use professional grade products provided by your dentist.

At TL Dental we offer ‘power bleaching’ if you have an event and want whiter teeth super fast!  If you have time and can wait a little longer for the result we can also have professional take-home tooth whitening.   You can even consider interest free payment options to spread the cost of your teeth whitening over a few repayments.

Whiter teeth for summer?  Give us a call or book online today or discuss your options with our friendly team (02) 6583 4055.

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