Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments offering a quick, non-invasive and affordable way to enhance a smile. Universally valued by men and women alike, whitening (or bleaching) treatments are available to satisfy every budget, time frame, and temperament. Whether in the form of professionally administered one-hour whitening sessions at a dental office or cosmetic spa, or home-use bleaching kits purchased at your local drugstore, solutions abound.
Virtually everyone who opts for a teeth-whitening solution sees moderate to substantial improvement in the brightness and whiteness of their smile. That said, it’s not a permanent solution to discoloration and requires maintenance or “touch-ups” for a prolonged effect.
In this article we break down everything related to teeth whitening, including the process of tooth discoloration, what causes staining, the various treatment options available, and their associated risks and costs.
It’s never been easier to brighten your smile at home. There are all kinds of products you can try: rinses, gels, chewing gum, toothpastes, and strips.
If you decide to try whitening at home, the American Dental Association suggests that you talk with your dentist first, especially if you have:
- Sensitive teeth
- Dental restorations
- Very dark stains or a single dark tooth
- Lots of fillings or crowns
At-home whiteners have peroxides, typically carbamide peroxide, in amounts ranging from 10% to 20%.
Choose a product with a peroxide level in the middle of that range. If the product doesn’t bother your mouth but doesn’t give the lightening effect you want, you can choose a higher level. If you have any questions, your dentist can help you find the whitener that best fits your needs.
All toothpaste remove surface stains because they contain mild abrasives. Some whitening toothpaste contain gentle polishing or chemical agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. You might spend $1 to $20, though any prices may vary.
Whitening toothpaste removes surface stains only and do not contain bleach; over-the-counter and professional whitening products contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that lightens the color deep in the tooth. Whitening toothpaste can lighten the tooth’s color by about one shade. In contrast, prescription strength whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.
Teeth Whitening and Sleep Dentistry Melbourne
The practice of performing dental work on people who are sedated but awake or who are under a general anaesthetic is known as sleep dentistry—most people who receive this treatment desire to be completely unconscious. The skilled and well-equipped team at Sleep Dentistry Melbourne can offer you this service.
Dentists employ heat or light in addition to a high peroxide concentration to hasten the whitening process and heighten the results. Therefore, professional teeth whitening can give you a brighter smile that is 2 to 8 shades lighter in just one hour, but at-home procedures generally take weeks or even months to see any noticeable improvements.
Over-the-counter whitening strips and gels
Whitening gels are clear, peroxide-based gels applied with a small brush directly to the surface of your teeth. Instructions vary depending on the strength of the peroxide. Follow the directions on the product carefully. Initial results are seen in a few days, and final results last about 4 months. A full course takes between 10 and 14 days. You may need to apply them twice a day. You can buy whitening strips and gels from your pharmacy, dentist, or online for around $10 to $55.
Whitening strips are very thin, virtually invisible strips that are coated with a peroxide-based whitening gel. The strips should be applied according to the instructions on the label. Initial results are seen in a few days, and final results last about 4 months.
Among the newest whitening products available are whitening rinses. Like most mouthwashes, they freshen breath and reduce dental plaque and gum disease. But these products also include ingredients, such as hydrogen peroxide in some, that whiten teeth. Manufacturers say it may take 12 weeks to see results. You just swish them around in your mouth for 60 seconds twice a day before brushing your teeth. However, some experts say that rinses may not be as effective as other over-the-counter whitening products. Because a whitening rinse is only in contact with the teeth for such a short time — just 2 minutes a day compared to 30 minutes for many strips — it may have less of an effect. To give whitening mouthwashes a boost, some people rinse first and then brush their teeth with a whitening toothpaste. Be ready to spend around $5 per bottle.
Tray-based tooth whitening systems, purchased either over-the-counter or from a dentist, involve filling a mouth guard-like tray with a gel whitening solution that has a peroxide-bleaching agent. The tray is worn for a period of time, generally from a couple of hours a day to every day during the night for up to 4 weeks and even longer (depending on the degree of discoloration and desired level of whitening). You can buy tray-based tooth whitening systems from your nearest pharmacy for around $30 or get a custom-fitted tray from your dentist for $150 to $600.