If you’d like to know how to whiten teeth, don’t waste your time with sub-standard over-the-counter products because they won’t work effectively. In order to brighten your teeth and remove stains and discolouration, you need a professional strength whitening brand like Philips Zoom, which we use here at Lotus Smiles Dental.
Why Do Teeth Discolour In The First Place?
Tooth discolouration is a natural consequence of ageing and while extrinsic or surface stains are often caused by a combination, intrinsic discolouration simply occurs gradually as we get older. Yellowed, discoloured teeth can be exacerbated by drinking lots of coffee, red wine or using tobacco products.
Because the dentin is inside the tooth, underneath the tooth enamel, you need to use a high strength bleaching agent to penetrate it. In Australia, only medical and dental professionals are certified to use bleaching agents obtaining more than 6% hydrogen peroxide. This means faster, safer and more effective teeth whitening treatments that protect your tooth enamel and remineralise while they whiten.
How Can Professional Teeth Whitening Brighten Your Smile?
You typically can choose between at-home and in-chair whitening treatments. If you have a special occasion or deadline to meet, we recommend you opt for in-chair whitening because it yields the fastest results. If you are prepared to wait a little longer, you can have custom trays made and wear them for a few hours a day for a little longer to achieve your desired shade of whiteness. Whether you choose chairside or at-home whitening usually depends on your budget and the amount of time you have available.
Why You Shouldn’t Waste Your Time With Over-the-counter Products
As we mentioned earlier, your dentist is certified to apply the highest strength teeth whitening products on the market, so anything that is store-bought is not going to be as effective.
Whitening strips and kits
Teeth whitening strips generally are not custom-shaped for the contours of your teeth like the trays that are made for at-home whitening.While they might cover the flat surface of your teeth, they often don’t fit the sides correctly. They also don’t stay in place and are easily dislodged by your saliva.
Many brands of whitening toothpaste are designed to remove extrinsic stains and contain abrasive substances like baking soda, beads, and charcoal that can cause damage to your tooth enamel.
Lots of internet sites make claims about at-home teeth whitening that makes use of products like lemon juice, vinegar and fruit acids, but these can also cause damage to your tooth enamel and should be avoided.
The Importance Of Working With A Dental Professional To Achieve Your Whitening Goals
Damage to your tooth enamel can be irreversible and the misuse of bleaching agents can result in long term problems that are difficult and costly to rectify. Before you can undertake any whitening treatment you need to consult with your dentist for approval. This means your dentist will assess the condition of your teeth and gums to ensure they are healthy enough to be bleached with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide. Your dentist will check to ensure they are free of decay, gum disease and caries.
Your dentist also needs to give your teeth a professional cleaning to make sure they are free of plaque and tartar, so that your final result is even.
What Can You Expect From Professional Teeth Whitening?
You will discuss your teeth whitening goals and what can be achieved with your dentist before you start treatment. As a precaution, it’s important that your gums and soft tissues are protected and don’t come into contact with the bleaching agent. Your dentist will paint over the surface of your teeth with the bleaching agent, before holding a blue light in front of the teeth to speed up the process. After around 15 minutes the bleach will be wiped off and the process will be repeated another two or three times until your teeth have achieved their desired shade of white.
While some tooth sensitivity may occur after treatment, most international products like Philips Zoom have been formulated to minimise post-whitening sensitivity.
If you are using the at-home treatment, you will be given custom trays, into which you will dispense a few drops of bleaching agent. The trays are designed to ensure that the bleach doesn’t touch your gums. Remember to follow your dentist’s instructions and not to use the bleach for longer than indicated.
Would you like to find out more about how to whiten teeth safely and effectively? Always consult a dental professional before trying any kind of whitening treatment. Please contact our practice for an appointment: (03) 8737 9359.