Ask the Dentist: All you need to know about Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening Seven Hills

Teeth Whitening Seven Hills

Teeth Whitening

Nowadays there are many options available to make your teeth whiter. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of people say their smile is their most important social asset so it is clear why teeth whitening are one of today’s most popular dental procedures. The best way to tell if your teeth are suited for any kind of whitening treatment is to talk to us. We will talk you through the causes of dark or stained teeth, and help you make an informed decision about which treatment option may work best for you.  What we want to do is help you to understand:

  • What are the benefits of teeth whitening?

  • What causes teeth staining?

  • What whitening options are available?

  • What do I need to understand about whitening treatments?

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TEETH WHITENING?

There are multiple benefits, including:

  • Looking younger

  • Improving self-confidence

  • Boosting career opportunities

  • Encouraging people to smile more

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WHAT CAUSES STAINED OR DISCOLOURED TEETH?

Most causes of tooth stains are from an external source, rather than from within the tooth itself.  Much of this comes from your diet and lifestyle habits but common causes include:

  • coffee, tea, red wine, fizzy drinks

  • eating foods high in colouring like soups, curries and pasta sauces

  • smoking or chewing tobacco

  • medicines like tetracycline

  • poor brushing and cleaning technique causing plaque and calculus build up

  • trauma to the tooth or grinding causing damage to the tooth and its appearance

Often the external causes of stains can be reduced by coming regularly for check up and cleans.  Having a habit of drinking water regularly after eating and drinking can also help to minimise external stains. 

Other tooth stain causes are internal, which means the discolouration comes from inside the tooth usually during the development and formation of the tooth or in some cases from a tooth with an unhealthy nerve.

coffee stained teeth.jpg
 
 

WHAT TEETH WHITENING OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?

It is important to understand that if you want to whiten your teeth safely and reliably, it is best to seek a qualified dental professional.  

  • Whitening Toothpastes

    • Easily purchased at the supermarket or pharmacy, whitening toothpastes contain more abrasives or additives which work to break down and remove surface stains and revive the tooth’s natural colour.

    • If you aren’t really looking for a big difference, there can be some results but often they are minor and temporary

  • Smile strips and preloaded trays

    • These delivery systems are generally more effective than whitening toothpastes

    • They don’t require impressions and can be used immediately however they don’t really cater for an individual’s needs and using the wrong product can either be ineffective or cause potential damage/sensitivity to the teeth without a professional’s guidance

  • Dental Scale and Polish ($180 for a one off scale and clean or $140 for a scale and clean if you come every 6 months)

    • A regular dental scale and polish is often enough to keep a natural smile clean and bright, while maintaining the integrity of the tooth surface.

    • These are helpful in removing external stains like coffee, tea, wine, smoking stains and should be done every 6 months but they won’t whiten the actual teeth

  • Take Home Professional Whitening Kits ($250 for a whitening kit with customised trays, box and whitening kit)

    • We take moulds of your teeth and fabricate customised upper and lower whitening trays for you (they look like thin mouth guards)

    • At home, you follow instructions in the kit to apply the whitening gel to the tray and wear the trays for about 30 minutes each day for about 2 weeks depending on your circumstances

    • For best results the following steps are recommending:

      • Brush your teeth prior to using the whitening gel

      • Place a small drop of whitening gel into the customised tray for each tooth you want to whiten and leave on between 30-90 minutes (depends on strength, sensitivity and expectations)

      • Repeat each day for 2-4 weeks

    • The advantage of take home whitening include:

      • convenience of whitening teeth in your own time at home

      • lower risk of sensitivity

      • they whiten your teeth over time at low doses so there are lower chances of sensitivity

      • you can purchase Top Up/Refill Kits at a much lower price

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  • Professional In Chair Whitening (Promotional offer - NOW $600 with a FREE take home kit)

    • These appointments usually take 1 to 1.5 hours long at the dental clinic

    • Steps involved:

      • polish the surfaces of your teeth

      • place a mouth retractor on,

      • line the gums with a special protective seal

      • paint on the whitening gel

      • We repeat the cycle of placing whitening gel on your teeth over 15 minute cycles and do it 3-4 times depending on your tolerance of sensitivity and expectations. 

 
Professional Teeth Whitening - Before Treatment

Professional Teeth Whitening - Before Treatment

 
 
Professional Teeth Whitening - Mid Treatment to compare Upper and Lower teeth

Professional Teeth Whitening - Mid Treatment to compare Upper and Lower teeth

 
 
Professional Teeth Whitening - After Treatment

Professional Teeth Whitening - After Treatment

 

WHAT DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT PROFESSIONAL WHITENING TREATMENTS?

In chair whitening and take home whitening both work welll.  In fact they work best together by doing in chair whitening followed by a take home kit. But often people decide based on their preference of whether they want to sit on the dental chair for 1-1.5 hours or whether they want to do it themselves at home over 30 minute sessions for a couple of weeks. 

The results of whitening procedures will largely depend on your lifestyle and diet, but the results can usually last at least 6-9 months and up to 2 years if you look after your teeth well.

Sensitivity on the gums and teeth can be a common occurrence during and after whitening procedures. The symptoms generally go away quite quickly or within a few days and we advise patients carefully on how to minimise these issues.

IS PROFESSIONAL WHITENING SAFE?

During your consultation, our dentists will check that you’re a suitable candidate for teeth whitening. We will also discuss and make sure you understand the causes for your discoloured teeth, the potential side-effects

The Dental Board of Australia requires that whitening products with more than a 6% concentration of hydrogen peroxide should only be used by a qualified dental practitioner. This is specifically why over-the-counter treatments have a reduced concentration levels compared to prescribed treatments.

HOW CAN I KEEP MY TEETH WHITE?

We recommend the following habits when it comes to keeping your teeth white

  • Brushing 2 times a day (once in the morning and once before going to bed)

  • Floss every day

  • Avoid smoking

  • Avoid foods and drinks like coffee, tea, red wine, soft drinks - anything that can stain a shirt can stain your teeth ). 

  • Avoiding acidic food and drinks that can damage your tooth structure

  • If you can’t avoid these foods and drinks that stain or cause acid damage to your teeth, consider drinking water regularly when consuming those products to rinse away the stains and acids

OTHER OPTIONS TO MAKE MY TEETH WHITE?

Internal Whitening

  • these are specific for teeth that have had root canal treatment

  • the tooth looks dark from a traumatic bump or root canal infection

  • we place whitening gel inside the darkened tooth usually for 1-3 weeks and it whitens the tooth from the inside.  Once we’ve achieved the result we want we then place a permanent filling on the tooth

Composite restorations

  • Composite fillings/restorations are an effective restorative material for altering shade, shape and surface texture of teeth.

  • It wears like natural tooth structure, and occasionally requires some maintenance to keep its appearance looking vital with high shine. 

  • They are appropriate in situations where the discoloured area on a tooth is small

Veneers

  • Veneers are used to place a layer of restorative material on the outer surface of a tooth

  • These can either be made from Composite or Porcelain

  • Porcelain is renowned for its high quality aesthetics, function and extensive research.

  • porcelain can attract higher costs, but can have a significant impact on patients’ lives. 

Crowns

  • Crowns require the shaving around the tooth structure, and this is often only recommended when there isn’t a suitable alternative treatment in terms of making a tooth whiter 

Are you looking for modern and gentle dentist who will look after you and your family? Then welcome to Capstone Dental - we are within minutes from Toongabbie, Prospect, Blacktown, Lalor Park, Baulkham Hills, Girraween, Kings Langley, Bella Vista