A quick scroll through your news feed on any given day will reveal that the internet is currently gripped by an obsession with achieving a blindingly white smile at home. Teeth whitening expert and dentist to the stars, Dr Levi, has watched this trend explode with equal measures of concern and scepticism. While most of these kits are harmless, some will actually cause damage to the delicate protective layer of the teeth. Others may not cause any damage to your teeth, but will often not offer noticeable or lasting whitening effects, leaving the purchaser disappointed and a few dollars poorer.
The only way to achieve professional, Miss Universe-worthy teeth whitening results is to visit a dentist for a clinical strength, customised whitening treatment. However, at-home whitening kits can offer you noticeable whitening results if you know how to choose a high quality option. Don’t waste your money on a product that doesn’t work – here’s what to look out for in an at-home whitening kit:
- The Concentration of Whitening Ingredients
The number one differentiating factor between all at-home teeth whitening kits is the concentration of active ingredients. It is easy to be distracted by bright colours, interesting designs and celebrity endorsements. But if you learn to look past the packaging you can cut through the fluff and find out which products are worth buying. Because when it comes right down to it, if a product doesn’t contain an adequate concentration of proven whitening products it simply will not work.
Any teeth whitening kit that is not sold by a dentist (that includes all those kits you see advertised on Facebook and Instagram) is not legally allowed to exceed a concentration of 6% of hydrogen peroxide or 18% of carbamide peroxide. The higher the concentration of active ingredients, the better the whitening action, so if you are buying one of these kits, make sure it contains as much hydrogen peroxide or carbamine peroxide as possible.
Home whitening kits provided by a professional dentist are legally allowed to contain much higher levels of active ingredients – up to 38%, meaning the results are far more noticeable and long lasting.
- The Active Whitening Ingredient
There is a lot of hype over whitening products that use ‘natural’ ingredients like charcoal, coconut oil or sodium bicarbonate. While these ingredients are relatively harmless, they can only ever remove surface stains from the teeth. After using any one of these products, your teeth will most likely feel cleaner, look a little brighter and appear whiter by 1-3 shades. This is because they use a similar approach as whitening toothpaste, which is to simply scrub off surface stains from the teeth. Dentists do not use any of these products for professional whitening services because they are simply unable to remove deeper stains and deliver long-lasting results.
The only whitening ingredients recommended by dentists are hydrogen peroxide and carbamine peroxide. These products are capable of removing deeper stains and will leave you with a noticeably whiter smile.
- The Tray
The tray included with most whitening kits is used to ensure that the whitening product remains in contact with the teeth for the entire application time, as well as preventing you from swallowing it. The better the tray fits your unique mouth and your teeth shape, the better the whitening process will work, as the product will remain in close contact with your teeth. Trays that use a one-size-fits-all approach will inevitably fail to make good contact with your teeth and will also leave gaps, especially on the edges of the teeth. This often results in a contrast between the untreated areas and the front of the teeth which can actually accentuate the yellowness of the teeth’s edges. For the best results, and to avoid an inconsistent application, a tray should be designed to fit your teeth exactly.
- Light or No Light?
The little lights included in home-whitening kits look so high-tech that they must do amazing things to accelerate the whitening process right? Wrong. These lights are almost entirely for dramatic effect – the kits don’t actually contain any light activated ingredients and the extremely minimal heat generated by these tiny lights do not offer any observable benefit to the whitening process.
So there you have it, everything you need to know to make smart choices about at-home whitening kits. If you’re looking for a professional whitening kit that ticks all the boxes, you’re in luck. Dr Levi is currently offering a highly effective POLA home whitening kit (35% carbamide peroxide) for just $250, including customised whitening trays that perfectly fit your mouth.
Offer valid until 31st January 2017 – redeem yours now, call (02) 9283 1900.