In this article, we look at all things teeth whitening, from how it works, to how long it lasts, and so much more.
With around 22% of Australians whitening their teeth (and rising!), it’s a popular endeavour that deserves thorough attention. So grab your favourite whitening kit, sit back with a glass of water (or any other liquid that won’t stain your pearly whites), and let’s get into it.
Granite Belt Dental offers in-person teeth whitening procedures performed by our clinicians for immediate results at Warwick, Stanthorpe, and Inglewood. We also provide customised at-home kits using custom-made whitening trays to achieve improvement in tooth shade over several weeks. Contact us today or book an appointment!
How to Whiten Your Teeth
There are a variety of at-home and in-chair ways to whiten your teeth.
Most treatments use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide for this purpose, as these chemicals are effective bleaching agents and considered to be well-researched and relatively safe.
Carbamide and Hydrogen Peroxide Teeth Whitening
When teeth are treated with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, these chemicals break down into oxygen molecules that penetrate the tooth’s enamel and dentin layers. The oxygen molecules react with the discoloured molecules in the teeth, breaking them down and effectively whitening them.
The strength of the tooth whitening gel used varies based on whether the treatment is completed at a dental clinic or at home. Dentists can use higher-strength whitening gels than those available for at-home use, as they are trained professionals who can ensure proper application and safety precautions.
Whitening toothpastes may also contain hydrogen peroxide at levels of 1 to 5% to help whiten teeth, although these lower concentrations are generally less effective than professional teeth whitening.
Additionally, some toothpastes contain phthalimidoperoxycaproic acid (PAP) (try saying that three times fast… or even just once!), another organic peroxide that acts as a bleaching agent. PAP functions similarly to hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, helping to break down stains and discolouration on the tooth surface.
Teeth Whitening Pens
Whitening pens feature a slim, compact design that allows for easy transport in a purse or pocket. Their structure consists of a thin, plastic tube containing a whitening gel, which can be applied directly to the teeth using a built-in brush or applicator. This targeted application ensures that the whitening agent reaches the stained areas on the tooth’s surface, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the treatment.
Teeth Whitening Lights
LED teeth whitening is an efficient method for achieving a brighter smile in less time compared to traditional whitening treatments. This approach is safe, fast, and convenient, making it an attractive option for those seeking quick and visible results.
To use an LED light, a specially formulated gel or serum containing hydrogen or carbamide peroxide is first applied to the teeth. The LED device, emitting blue or indigo light, is then used to activate the bleaching agent, making it work more rapidly to remove stains from the tooth surface.
The treatment typically lasts between 10 to 30 minutes, and it is crucial not to exceed the time limit specified in the LED teeth whitening kit instructions. The LED light works by having a photochemical impact on the tooth surface, activating the hydrogen peroxide in the whitening serum, and accelerating the bleaching process.
Do Teeth Whitening Strips Work?
Teeth whitening strips are thin, flexible, plastic strips that are coated with a whitening gel containing a peroxide-based bleaching agent. They are a popular over-the-counter solution designed for at-home use. The strips come in pairs, with one strip for the upper teeth and another for the lower teeth.
Strips can be an effective and affordable option for those looking to improve the appearance of their teeth. However, the results may not be as long-lasting or dramatic as those achieved through professional dental procedures. It is also essential to follow the product instructions and to be aware of potential side effects such as tooth sensitivity or gum irritation.
How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?
Teeth whitening results can vary depending on the method used. At-home products may provide poor-to-great whitening results that last for a few months. On the other hand, professional dental procedures can offer more significant and longer-lasting results, with the effects potentially lasting up to 2-3 years. Keep in mind that individual results may vary, and maintaining good oral hygiene practices can help prolong the effects.
It’s important to note that teeth whitening is not a permanent solution, and maintenance is required to keep teeth looking bright. Regular dental cleanings, avoiding staining substances like coffee, tobacco, and red wine (teeth whiteners are not popular at parties), and using whitening toothpaste can help maintain the results of professional whitening treatments.
Does Teeth Whitening Damage Teeth?
Teeth whitening, when done correctly and under the supervision of a dental professional, is generally considered safe and should not damage teeth. However, there are potential risks and side effects associated with at-home methods, especially if the treatment is not performed correctly or if the user has pre-existing dental issues.
Some potential risks and side effects include:
- Uneven results: Improper application of products may lead to uneven whitening, where some areas of the teeth are lighter than others.
- Chemical burns: If the bleaching agent comes into contact with gums or other soft tissues in the mouth, there is a risk of chemical burns or irritation.
- Tooth sensitivity: Teeth and gums may become more sensitive for a few days after the treatment, especially with in-chair dental procedures. This is usually a temporary side effect.
- Damage to tooth enamel: Overuse or misuse of whitening products could potentially weaken tooth enamel, making teeth more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
It is important to consult a dental professional before using any teeth whitening product to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment. Additionally, pregnant women and new mothers should avoid whitening their teeth, as the chemicals used in the treatment can enter the placenta and breast milk, posing potential risks to the baby.
Contact Granite Belt Dental Today for all Your Whitening Needs
Granite Belt Dental is proud to offer professional, in-chair, teeth whitening services and custom-fitti kits as part of our cosmetic dentistry services from our offices in Stanthorpe, Warwick, and Inglewood. If you live in the Granite Belt area and want to add a little shine to your smile, contact us today or book an appointment!