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While most people today really want an Instagram-worthy smile, a lot of dental research and technology has been invested into this popular dental procedure. And with so many products in the market begging for consumer attention, we thought we should share some pearls of wisdom about teeth whitening, and how to do it safely. Here are a few useful facts about whitening that you probably didn’t know.


Teeth Whitening Was Discovered By Chance

While humans have been using all manner of natural ingredients to whiten their teeth for thousands of years, we first started using peroxide in the late 1800s. 

Dentists had been using peroxide as a means to control gum disease and oral infections and, as they continued to do so, they discovered that it offered another surprise benefit- it whitened the teeth too.

It was only about a hundred years later, in the late 1980s however that we refined safe ways to do it.


Your Teeth Are A Reflection Of What Goes Into Your Mouth

If you expose your teeth to food, beverages and nicotine that cause stains, your teeth will absorb those stains. Even if you go for regular dental cleaning, you won’t be able to remove the stains unless you use a specially formulated whitening gel.

Ultimately how teeth whitening works is by penetrating the tooth enamel.

The professionally formulated whitening gel is absorbed by the teeth, so that the hydrogen peroxide can lift stains from the dentin inside your teeth. 

Some teeth whitening systems make use of a blue light or laser, which activates the whitening agent or speeds up the whitening process.

Only Dental Practitioners Are Allowed To Administer Whitening Gels With 6% And Higher Concentration

Because there was a high level of abuse, the use of high concentration bleaching agents has been restricted to medical and dental practitioners only. Your dentist can administer whitening gel of up to 35% hydrogen peroxide because he or she is able to manage the potential risks.

By contrast whitening gels and whitening strips that are available from local pharmacies and shops typically only contain around 2% hydrogen peroxide. Unfortunately some of them also contain abrasive substances that can damage the enamel of your teeth.


High Quality Dental Devices Deliver Superior Teeth Whitening

Whitening strips are often too ill-fitting to give your teeth an even result. While the front of the teeth is often easy to cover, getting the strip to line up around the sides of your teeth can be impossible.

That’s why custom-made trays containing professionally formulated whitening gel, or dentist-applied whitening agent yields the best results.


When Performed Correctly Teeth Whitening Does Not Damage Your Teeth

Professionally formulated whitening products have been designed to protect tooth enamel as they whiten. Many of them also re-mineralise your teeth at the same time.

Many dentists offer take-home trays to patients, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you follow your dentist’s instructions, for the safest possible result. Don’t be tempted to leave your trays in for longer than prescribed, or continue using the whitening gel for longer than recommended by your dentist. Prolonged exposure to hydrogen peroxide can cause damage over the long term.


Teeth Whitening Can Be As Quick As You Like

Most whitening systems offer different concentrations of bleaching agent. The higher the amount of hydrogen peroxide, the quicker you can expect your results. In-chair whitening can be done in as little as 45 to 60 minutes. Take-home treatments may take a week or two to yield results.

You will always need to have a dental check-up before you can move forward with teeth whitening. This is for your own safety, to ensure that your mouth is free of cavities and decay, and that your enamel is strong and healthy. Your dentist will also remove any traces of plaque and tartar to ensure an even whitening result.

During your check up you can discuss your expectations, and the kind of results that can be achieved in-chair or at-home. Most whitening systems have a chart that allows you to show your dentist how white you’d like your smile to be. Sometimes it might be necessary to do a follow up treatment.


How Long Can You Expect Your Whiter Smile To Last?

Well, that depends entirely on you. If you quit smoking, eliminate caffeine and soda, along with any other causes of staining, you can expect to keep your smile whiter for longer. Your dentist will discuss top-up options, and when you might expect to return for a second treatment.

Still have questions about teeth whitening and what kind of results you can expect at Lotus Smiles Dental? We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us for an appointment: (03) 8737 9359.