We all deserve a beautiful, bright smile that we can show off with confidence. But let's face it: years of coffee, tea, and other indulgences (along with medications and other lifestyle factors) can leave our teeth looking dull and yellow.
Thankfully, there are teeth whitening solutions available that promise to bring back that pearly white smile.
If you’re reading this you’re likely wondering, do all teeth whitening kits work? Are teeth whitening kits safe? And what is the best teeth whitening kit in Australia?
Unfortunately, not all teeth whitening kits are created equal, and some at home teeth whitening kits can actually cause damage to your teeth and overall oral health.
In this article, we’ll discuss how teeth whitening kits work, the different whitening kit treatments available, the difference between store-bought and professional teeth whitening kits, and how to ensure you’re using teeth whitening kits safely and effectively.
Whether you're an avid coffee drinker or just looking to boost your confidence with a brighter smile, read on to discover the best teeth whitening solution for you.
Home teeth whitening kits can work in a few different ways, depending on the specific product you’re using (more on that shortly). Most whitening teeth kits contain an active ingredient that acts as a bleaching agent - the most common are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.
The bleaching agent works by penetrating the enamel of the teeth and breaking down the molecules that cause staining, aiming to make the teeth lighter and brighter over time with continued use.
Sound a little complicated? There’s certainly a science to it! It’s also worth noting here that store-bought (or Instagram-bought) teeth whitening kits contain significantly less of the active ingredient that effectively whitens teeth.
Each kit will have a different set of instructions that tells you how to use it, including general application and the duration of use each day. These instructions will depend on what type of at home teeth whitening kit you’re using.
LED teeth whitening kits
When you opt to have your teeth professionally whitened, your dentist will likely use an LED light to enhance the whitening effect. The LED light emits a blue light that activates the whitening gel or strips, helping to activate the whitening agent and break down stains on the teeth.
You may have also come across similar-looking LED teeth whitening kits being sold online (or in your Instagram feed!) but it's worth noting that they don't provide the same level of protection as the in-chair treatment.
When you have your teeth whitened in-chair, your dentist will use a protective barrier to cover your gums and prevent any potential damage, which DIY kits don’t offer.
Further, many at-home LED whitening kits use a combination of sodium bicarbonate (the same baking soda you can buy in store) and sodium chlorite.The safety of using these ingredients together, particularly with an LED light, hasn't been thoroughly studied. Also, the LED light itself may not have been tested for long-term usage.
Teeth whitening trays
Whitening trays are a popular option for at-home teeth whiteners. The trays are filled with a bleaching gel and worn over the teeth like a mouthguard for a designated period of time each day.
If you opt for a professional-grade teeth whitening tray from your dentist, it will be custom-made to fit your unique smile. Your dentist will advise on how long to wear the tray to achieve your desired result.
Supermarket-grade teeth whitening trays only provide one size and shape of tray, which can result in uneven bleaching across your teeth. The instructions also won’t be tailored to your unique needs.
Regardless of which teeth whitening tray you choose, it’s crucial that you follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging your teeth.
Teeth whitening strips
Whitening strips are thin, flexible strips that you apply directly to your teeth. They're coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel that helps to remove surface stains. Each product has a specific set of instructions as to how long to wear the strips for each day, and how many days or weeks are needed to achieve best results.
However, it’s extremely important to ensure the strips don’t come into contact with your gums when you apply them, as the bleaching agent can cause irritation.
It’s also very important to not exceed the recommended time the strips are on your teeth, to avoid long-term damage to the enamel. Ouch!
Teeth whitening pens
Teeth whitening pens look similar to a marker or highlighter, except they’re filled with bleaching gel. You apply the whitening gel directly to your teeth using the brush tip. Although you may notice promising results on the surface of your teeth initially, the agents in the gel are not actually able to penetrate the deeper layers of the tooth.
As a result, the overall effect may be limited and the results may not last as long as you might hope.
It may be tempting to reach for the cheaper teeth whitening option you see in your social media feed or supermarket shelves. But before you do, we encourage you to consider the differences between store bought whitening kits and professional teeth whitening.
As we said earlier, professional teeth whitening involves using a higher concentration of whitening agent, usually hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, than what you'll find in store-bought products. These ingredients are well researched, safe, and can actually break down stains.
During the treatment, the dentist may also use a professional-grade (and fully tested) LED light to enhance the whitening effect. They'll also take steps to protect your gums and other sensitive areas in your mouth from potential damage.
On the other hand, store-bought whitening products like strips, trays, and pens contain a lower concentration of bleaching agent than what's used in professional treatments. This means they won’t be as effective at removing tough stains as professional whitening.
And, despite their claims of whiter and brighter teeth, your smile won't last all that long. Store bought whitening kits will only keep your teeth whiter for 1-3 months, which isn't all that long in the grand scheme of things.
There’s also the safety issue. Some products may contain harmful ingredients, and improper use could lead to tooth sensitivity or other dental problems. The LED lights in certain at-home kits are also untested for long-term use. Why risk your smile?
It's always a good idea to consult with your dentist before starting any whitening treatment, whether it's professional or store-bought.
At TL Dental, we tailor your teeth whitening treatment to your unique smile’s needs. Our professional-grade treatments start at $560 and we have a number of payment plans available to ensure your brighter, whiter smile doesn’t have to wait.
While influencers may make store-bought teeth whitening kits look tempting, a brighter, healthier-looking smile is best left to the experts. Professional teeth whitening offers a higher concentration of whitening agent, the use of protective barriers to prevent damage to your gums and other sensitive areas in your mouth, and the added benefit of personalised treatment based on your unique dental history and needs.
Plus, with proper maintenance and follow-up care, the results of professional teeth whitening will last much longer. If you’re interested in a glowing grin, book your appointment online or get in touch to chat with our team about your options.
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