What is Teeth Whitening? What is Teeth Bleaching?
Teeth whitening is a popular and simple cosmetic dental procedure. Teeth whitening may also be referred to as teeth bleaching. All teeth whitening options use either carbamide peroxide (CP) or hydrogen peroxide (HP). If carbamide peroxide is used, it breaks down to Hydrogen peroxide, which becomes the active ingredient. The peroxide assists to remove discoloration and staining, as well as breaking down the pigmented chromogens inside the teeth, resulting in a brighter set of teeth. The amount of peroxide used in each type of teeth whitening product will dictate how fast the teeth will whiten. If whitening or bleaching is not done correctly, it can gradually erode the tooth enamel, making the tooth more vulnerable to cracking, decay and pain. Your dental practitioner at Narrabeen Dental Care will be able to assess whether teeth bleaching is right for you. Whether you feel more comfortable experiencing Philip’s ZOOM! Teeth Whitening in the dentist’s chair or a using a Philip’s ZOOM! take-home kit in your armchair, the best teeth whitening procedure in Australia is the one that’s right for your desired results.
The Dangers of Teeth Whitening
It is important to understand that the teeth whitening industry is largely unregulated. This means that not all options are made equal, nor are they monitored by official health bodies that protect both the consumer’s health and wallet. Clinician approved effective teeth whitening or teeth bleaching procedures will naturally be more successful than over-the-counter options. They will also be safer: the Philip’s ZOOM! Is approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Australia). Additionally, there are special whitening products that have been approved for use by clinicians in dental practices only.
A great benefit of seeing a dentist from Narrabeen Dental Care for your teeth whitening is identifying any oral hygiene issues you may have before or after the whitening procedure. The OTC take-home kit might be smiling at you, but it cannot tell if you have any cavities, cracks, enamel or other dental health issues that may need addressing before a whitening treatment.
Dentist Teeth Whitening
If you decide to make an appointment with your dentist for teeth whitening, they will happily provide you with everything you need to know about their professional whitening options. The most popular options are Philip’s ZOOM! In-Chair teeth whitening procedures, custom fabricated take-home teeth whitening kits and over-the-counter teeth whitening kits approved by your dental practitioner. All are available at Narrabeen Dental Care.
Option 1 – In Chair Teeth Whitening:
If you want the best teeth whitening option available in terms of results, longevity and procedure time, in-chair teeth whitening is the way to go. The process takes between forty-five minutes to one hour depending on the whitening procedure and desired results.
One of the fastest and best teeth whitening options is the procedure involving the Philips ZOOM! system. The dentist will use a much higher level of peroxide in conjunction with isolation of the teeth and an insert that holds the patient’s mouth open. This achieves greater results faster. The process is as follows:
1. After assessing your oral hygiene needs, your dentist will apply a layer of whitening gel to your upper and lower teeth.
2. A WhiteSpeed blue LED lamp will shine onto your teeth. There are variable settings available for the lamp. This maximises the comfort of the patient and assists in achieving the shade desired. The process is repeated three times.
3. Once the treatment is complete, your dentist will use a post-treatment gel to ensure your post-procedure discomfort is minimal and the enamel is protected.
Option 2 – Dentist-Approved Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits:
As with the in-chair options, there are a few dentist-approved teeth whitening take-home kits. For example, Philip’s ZOOM! also has two different types of take-home kits, though there are other brands available that your dentist may use. The two Philip’s ZOOM! options are the DayWhite and the NightWhite. Both require time set aside for the whitening process. The key differences are:
1. Worn 1-2 times daily for thirty minutes for two weeks.
2. Achieves up to six shades of whitening lighter than pre-whitened tooth shade.
1. Worn over night for two weeks.
2. Achieves up to six shades of whitening lighter than pre-whitened tooth shade.
The Philip’s ZOOM! Take-home kit is an easy process and is as follows:
1. A small droplet amount of whitening gel is placed in each tooth space of the trays.
2. The trays are gently inserted into the mouth.
3. Set a timer for the required time for wearing the trays. After use, remove the trays and rinse them with cold water.
4. Rinse the mouth with a toothbrush without toothpaste to remove any leftover gel on teeth.
OTC Kits for Teeth Whitening
There are budget-friendly teeth whitening options available in many forms. Whilst you are unlikely to achieve the same results as you would with a dental professional, there is relatively low risk for the customer in terms of cost and safety. Some of the most popular teeth bleaching kits on the market include HiSmile, GLO, Smilie, and Advance. Most use trays, though some only use one tray that is used for both top and bottom teeth. Each type of OTC kit will have individual aspects, but here are the most common features of OTC options:
- LED lights and or heat lights for faster results.
- Teeth whitening gel packets.
- Shorter process than dental professional option: processes can take as little as eight minutes, as with the GLO OTC kit.
- Comfort fit trays, mouldable trays or generic sized trays.
There are some other OTC options, such as teeth whitening strips, teeth whitening toothpaste, pre-whitening mouthwash and teeth whitening pens. They have a smaller level of effort required, which unfortunately equates to less noticeable results. These are best used in conjunction with other treatments – such as trays – as they do not have the same level of whitening agents or extended exposure offered by teeth whitening gel. However, it is important to note that OTC still provide some results whilst being virtually safe to use whilst being much more budget friendly than a dentist option.
Teeth Whitening at Home
There are the take-home teeth whitening kits, over-the-counter teeth whitening kits, whitening teeth strips, teeth whitening pens, teeth whitening gel, charcoal for teeth whitening and natural teeth whitening (such as brushing with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide). There’s an abundance of options, each with their own list of pros and cons.
- Take-home kits generally consist of two trays (one for upper jaw, one for lower jaw), several syringes of whitening gel and a case for protecting the trays. The kits are required to be worn by the patient for a period assigned by the dentist (eg, thirty minutes a day)
Pros: Dentist approved, medium to high longevity.
Cons: Medium price point, some discomfort from teeth sensitivity, requires ongoing dedication to application process.
- OTC kits are like take-home kits, with a few key differences. Most apply a one-size-fits-all approach, though some use a “boil and bite” where moulding a tray is achieved through plunging the trays into boiling and then inserting the trays into the mouth for the jaw shape.
Pros: Universally accessible, cheap teeth whitening option, well-regarded by dental practitioners.
Cons: Varying results, non-individualised trays, may contain ingredients that damage teeth enamel and or make the tooth more sensitive.
- Whitening Teeth Strips consist of a set of strips with teeth whitening / teeth bleaching agents (such as peroxide) that are applied to the upper and lower sets of teeth. They are cheap, easy-to-use, and highly accessible.
Pros: Affordable / cheap teeth whitening, low maintenance option.
Cons: Short time of effectiveness, only slight difference in whitened appearance of teeth.
- Teeth Whitening Pens use teeth whitening gel to remove food and drink stains from your teeth. They are the least scientifically proven out of the options on the market, though they are an excellent accessible and cheaper option if you are experimenting with the right procedure for at-home teeth whitening. They often produce immediate improvement by one or two shades but have a shortened time of effectiveness in comparison to other OTC options.
Pros: Results are visible in as fast as sixty seconds, excellent versatility for application as a teeth whitening product, can be used anywhere and anytime.
Cons: Results last varying amounts of time, application and drying process vary between a few minutes to hours, may not be appropriate for people with sensitive teeth.
- Teeth Whitening Gel is an option used in conjunction with trays or pens. It cannot be used on its own, as it requires a form of protection to ensure the teeth are exposed to the gel for an extended period. A variety of results are produced from teeth whitening gel, but most patients see at least some improvement from their current shade of teeth.
Pros: Many options ranging between cheap to deluxe, available at local pharmacies and dentist’s practices.
Cons: Results are mixed based on the type of teeth whitening gel and applicator used, may not be appropriate for people with sensitive teeth.
- Natural teeth whitening at home procedures are the cheapest option. Some options have a small price (such as a punnet of strawberries: see below on how strawberries help clean your teeth!) and most are readily available in your pantry, fridge or local supermarket. These include brushing with baking soda, eating strawberries, oil-pulling (swishing oil and spitting it out; typically using coconut oil), brushing with hydrogen peroxide, and of course: simply brushing and flossing twice a day!
Pros: Very low cost, very low maintenance and low effort required, safe option for people with sensitive teeth.
Cons: Results vary drastically from option to option, little evidence supports natural teeth whitening over in-chair teeth whitening, tooth damage possible if done incorrectly.
How much does Teeth Whitening Cost?
As outlined in the teeth whitening options above, there is a range of costs associated with your choice of procedure. For example, professional teeth whitening with a dentist will cost more than an OTC option but are well worth it if you want lasting and easy to maintain results. If you are more interested in having minor but faster results and don’t mind the lack of longevity, OTC might be for you. However, there is nothing wrong with asking your dentist about a non-dentist option: they can help you make informed decisions about the process without harming your teeth, enamel and gum health.
At Narrabeen Dental Care we offer a variety of treatments, including in-chair teeth whitening and take-home teeth whitening kits. For in-chair teeth whitening, it is approximately $650 for treatment. For custom take-home teeth whitening kits, it is approximately $300 for treatment. Most patients will have both In-Chair and a take home kit made for later use, as it is more economical at around $850 to do so.
What to Expect from Teeth Whitening
What you can expect from teeth whitening or teeth bleaching is entirely dependent on the teeth whitening option you choose. For all options, it is reasonable to expect a change in colour to the tooth to a lighter, whiter shade. You should bear in mind that the teeth whitening option, cost, length of time and steps taken in a procedure are all factors that affect the level of results you will see. For example, you will see an obvious difference between the before-and-after pictures below. One is of a dentist in-chair teeth whitening procedure, and the other is of an OTC teeth bleaching kit
In-chair teeth whitening before (top) and after (lower):
Who can get Teeth Whitening Procedures?
In most cases, anyone who is over the age of 15 can be a candidate for teeth whitening. This is because by this time, most people have grown in their permanent front sets of teeth. It is advised that you speak with your health provider or dentist before undertaking any teeth whitening treatments. This is especially true for anyone with sensitive teeth or any oral hygiene issues.
How long does Teeth Whitening take?
Teeth whitening takes anywhere between a minute at home to an hour in a dentist office chair. On average, OTC options take thirty minutes and dentists who do teeth whitening take about forty-five minutes. The rule of thumb is the longer the process, the greater the results. However, people with sensitive teeth may want to avoid longer treatments, as this will likely increase the chance of their discomfort.
Keeping Your Whitened Teeth White
There are a few basic precautions you can take following the teeth whitening procedure of your choice. Some dentist-approved suggestions are:
- You should avoid acidic food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine, tomato-based foods, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, soft drinks… Basically anything you wouldn’t want on a white shirt, you don’t want on your newly whitened teeth!
- You should avoid smoking after whitening your teeth.
- You should brush and floss your teeth after having acidic or stain-prone food and drink.
If you cannot live without your favourite type of stain-inducing drink – few of us can! – you can opt for the use of a straw to reduce teeth contact. Additionally, there are certain foods that not only will not stain or discolour your teeth but will make them appear whiter. These include:
- Strawberries: These berries are more than just a natural treat; they have been proven to “exfoliate” the surface of teeth through the presence of malic acid. This sometimes results in the tooth having a whiter, brighter appearance.
- Pineapple: This tropical fruit has an enzyme known as bromelain present that helps to remove stains. However, it is found to be most effective when the enzyme was used in a toothpaste form, rather than just pineapple. Regardless, eating fruits and vegetables have been found to help break down plaque, so it’s worth the try.
A Summary of Teeth Whitening
In summary, your options for the best teeth whitening available are numerous. Teeth whitening and teeth bleaching is a largely unregulated industry, but your dentist will provide the safest and most appropriate options for your desired results, price limit and time available. Most teeth whitening products contain a type of peroxide, and the stronger the concentration, the better the results. Let the professionals at Narrabeen Dental Care transform your smile using Philips ZOOM! Dynamic bleaching solutions.