Teeth become stained due to the food we eat, the lifestyle we lead and the medications we take. If you drink a lot of cola, tea and coffee, your teeth may have brown stains from the years you’ve consumed these beverages. If you smoke, your teeth will not be white or certain medications can stain your teeth a dark brown or blue colour. The guide we have prepared will discuss the different teeth whitening options along with answering the many questions patients ask us about teeth whitening.
Types of Teeth Whitening Procedures
In chair teeth whitening completed at your dental clinic typically takes less than one hour to bring your teeth up to 8 shades whiter. In chair teeth whitening, such as Zoom! is a 3-step procedure which involves:
- Application of a rubber coating on your gums for protection, exposing only your teeth to the treatment.
- Application of a gel-like whitening substance on the teeth which is then ‘activated’ by a laser light.
- Removal of the whitening gel and protective gum coating after an hour or so, depending on the shade of teeth whitening required.
At home whitening kit is tailor-made by your dentist, who is completely aware of your teeth whitening and maintenance requirements. Nothing is more important to us than good oral health, which is why we prepare customised whitening trays for you to use at home.
Impressions of your teeth are sent to our lab to be processed, as we make custom trays that are unique to each individual. Once this is done, we guide you through the teeth whitening process which you can easily practise on your own at home.
Please note that it takes about one week before you will start to see any visible results. During your appointment your dentist will discuss the correct percentage of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide along with how long you should use the gel for optimal results based on your current shade.
Frequently Asked Questions about Teeth Whitening
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
You have absolutely nothing to worry about as we check your teeth and gums thoroughly before carrying out any teeth whitening procedures. If you have sensitive teeth, we will administer a low strength whitening gel so as to not affect your tooth sensitivity adversely. However, you may feel a mild prickling sensation during and after the whitening procedure.
We will also assess what kind of whitening results you can expect after a complete dental and oral check-up.
Please note: The treatment is not effective against removing stains caused by crowns, bridges, veneers or root canals. However, if you need to have stains removed as a direct result of the above, we are willing to modify the teeth whitening process to separately work on those, so you can enjoy a bright smile.
How to Use a Home Whitening Kit?
Custom home whitening kits are not only affordable but very easy to use as well. We will guide you so as to how much gel to apply every time, according to your requirements. You might have to wear trays for just a few hours each day or overnight for a couple of weeks, largely depending on how sensitive your teeth are and the level of whitening shade you require.
How Long Will My Teeth Whitening Last?
This depends on your oral health and dental hygiene care as well as lifestyle and diet. However, we will tell you exactly what to do to keep the effects of teeth whitening long-lasting. On average, teeth whitening procedures carried out by our dental experts, especially if you observe good oral hygiene, can easily last 2 years or more.
All you have to do is follow our guidelines and avoid certain food colours, smoking and beverages that negatively affect your dental health. We will provide you with enough care instructions and precautionary measures to retain the effects of tooth whitening for as long as possible.
What Are the Risks I May Face During / After Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening can be a risky procedure if not done by a qualified dentist. You should strictly get it done by a professional dentist who has been licensed by the Australian Dental Association. A qualified dentist is properly trained on handling and minimising any risks associated with teeth whitening; special training and certifications are required in order to handle levels of Hydrogen Peroxide which are 6% or higher. This gel is the main agent used in teeth whitening which is why using it in the correct quantity is crucial.
During or after the whitening procedure, you will likely feel a mild tingling sensation in your gums and teeth, which is perfectly okay. However, we recommend that you let us know immediately in case you feel any nagging discomfort so that we may provide tips on getting immediate relief. You may experience this mild sensation for the first couple of weeks, but know that we are here to help you overcome any unpleasant symptoms whatsoever.
Other side effects that might occur in rare cases, are blisters in the mouth or gums, or uneven shades of whitening on your teeth, which are a direct result of treatment administered to veneer and crown users.
Does it Cause Tooth Sensitivity?
There is a greater chance you may experience tooth sensitivity if your oral health is not good; for example, decaying teeth or receding gums. However, under normal conditions, the sensitivity persists only for a short time, and can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers.
Does Teeth Whitening Work Well With Fillings and Crowns?
Teeth whitening does not affect your fillings and crowns; however, if you wish for them to be the same colour as your freshly whitened teeth, you will have to get them replaced.
How Much Whiter Will My Teeth Look After the Treatment?
Teeth whitening effects vary according to the colour tone or texture your teeth currently have. For instance, yellow teeth will whiten perfectly well in comparison to grey and brownish coloured ones. What we promise is a shade that is realistically several shades brighter than your original teeth colour.
How Old do You Have to be for Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is effective for anyone who has a complete set of permanent teeth; e.g. adults who are 16 years and older, since “milk teeth” are usually white and do not need further whitening.
In cases where teeth have been discoloured as a direct result of traumatic accidents, we do not recommend the procedure, as whitening does not work properly on discoloured teeth.
Is it OK to Continue Smoking after Teeth Whitening?
Let us be honest here. We strictly discourage smoking because it is a sure way of reversing the effects of teeth whitening. Tobacco leaves deep stains on your tooth enamel and should be avoided for at least a few days after the treatment. If cannot break from the habit of tobacco consumption or smoking, please note that you will require more regular re-treatments to maintain teeth whiteness in the long run.
How Can I Retain the Whiteness Of My Teeth?
Apart from brushing and flossing regularly, we recommend avoiding foods and drinks containing artificial food colours. If you cannot cut down on these, then consider drinking beverages through a straw which prevents unnecessary staining on your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Video
If you would like to make an appointment to discuss teeth whitening in Geelong please call 1300 657 033 to schedule an appointment at the Geelong Dentist Clinic.