If your teeth are yellow, stained or have other discolouration, you can ask your dentist about teeth whitening treatments. These can be done at the dental clinic or using a take-home kit.
If you choose to do your own teeth bleaching at home, it's essential that you follow your dentist's guidance. Using whitening kits improperly or using over-the-counter products not recommended by your dentist increase the risk of damage to your teeth and gums.
How does teeth whitening work?
Teeth whitening treatments use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to bleach stains below the tooth's surface, making them appear whiter and sometimes more reflective.
The level of peroxide is whitening products is strictly regulated in Australia. Only registered dental professionals are allowed to use treatments with a high concentration of the chemicals.
Teeth whitening at a dental clinic may be done with the help of ultraviolet light and can usually be completed in a single visit. Home teeth whitening takes longer, though offers treatment to be completed in the convenience of your own home and uses custom trays designed by your dentist to be an exact fit for your teeth. This offers safer and more even whitening than generic whitening kits bought from pharmacies.
What are the side effects of teeth whitening?
Even if your treatment is provided by a dentist or you follow their instructions correctly, your teeth or gums might feel more sensitive for a short time after they've been exposed to bleaching agents. This is usually temporary and shouldn't last more than 48 hours. Your dentist may recommend products to reduce sensitivity.
The risks will be higher if you use whitening kits improperly or use over-the-counter treatments not provided by your dentist. If the bleaching agent is too strong or spills out of the tray, this could permanently damage your teeth or cause blistering and discolouration of the gums, as well as affecting your whitening results.
It's important not to put more bleach into the trays than recommended. This will not make your teeth whiter or make the treatment faster, but it could burn your gums.
When is teeth whitening a risk?
Not everyone is suitable for teeth whitening. Your dentist will let you know if you're a candidate when you have your consultation.
Generally, you may not be suitable for teeth bleaching treatments if:
- you have sensitive teeth or gums
- you're pregnant or breastfeeding
- you have gum disease or poor oral hygiene
- your teeth are chipped or cracked
- decay present
Teeth whitening won't affect dental restorations such as fillings and crowns.
What are the alternatives to teeth bleaching?
If whitening isn't an option for you, your dentist could discuss other treatments to help remove stains or cover up discolouration. These could include:
- covering your teeth with dental veneers
- replacing existing fillings or crowns with whiter equivalents
- regular dental hygiene treatments to remove plaque, calculus and light surface stains from your teeth
Good brushing and flossing, avoiding staining food and drink and keeping up with your regular dental visits can all help a white smile to last longer and extend the time between whitening treatments.
Teeth whitening on the Gold Coast
If you want to know more about teeth whitening and other cosmetic dental treatments, get in touch with our team at Robina Town Dental.
Healthdirect. Teeth whitening [Online] 2018 [Accessed May 2019] Available from: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/teeth-whitening
Australian Dental Association. Teeth Whitening: Getting the best result for your smile [Online] 2016 [Accessed May 2019] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/getattachment/Your-Dental-Health/Resources-for-Professionals/Resources-for-Teens-12-17/Teeth-whitening-the-best-result-for-your-smile/Teeth-whitening,-getting-the-best-result-for-your-smile.pdf.aspx