Teeth whitening is pretty straightforward right? Your dentist (or you) paint some magical gel on your teeth, it erases all the stains, you wash it off and you walk away with a perfect white smile.
If this is more or less how you understand teeth whitening, you are worryingly off the mark. Read on to discover a few important teeth whitening facts that might surprise you.
- Lots of in-chair or shopping mall treatments only produce the illusion of whitening
That’s right, not all whitening treatments are created equal – far from it. Those cute little whitening pods you see in the mall are the worst culprits but some dentist treatments are also simply producing a temporary whitening illusion, without actually removing stains. How is this possible? Well, some of the lower quality in-chair treatments work by drying out the teeth, which makes them appear temporarily whiter. So although you may initially be happy with the result, in the weeks following your treatment your teeth will rehydrate, bringing back the same old dull colour. Opt for a treatment that doesn’t dry out the teeth, such as Smartlight 3LT or KTP Laser for longer lasting results.
- When it comes to teeth whitening, the sky ain’t the limit
It’s good to aim high, but when it comes to your teeth, there is a definite limit to how far you can go. Unfortunately, your maximum whiteness might not be as bright as the celeb smile you’ve been lusting after. If you have an addictive personality, chances are once you start whitening (and see good results) you’ll try to push it further by continuing to use multiple whitening treatments. This simply won’t work. There is a definite ceiling, beyond which your teeth will not get any whiter, in fact you may actually do some damage to your enamel, resulting in sensitivity and (ironically) discolouration of the teeth.
- Your whitening results will depend on the current colour and condition of your teeth
Whitening can be transformative, but there are certain types of discolouration that are either highly resistant or non-responsive to whitening. If your teeth have antibiotic staining, for example, there is not a single whitening treatment that will make any difference whatsoever to your stains other than the KTP Laser. Another common cause for discoloured teeth is worn down enamel. Teeth whitening works by removing stains from the tooth’s enamel, so if you haven’t got any, it’s not going to work. Your best bet is to build your enamel back – however, since tooth enamel itself cannot be restored, you can look to strengthening and repairing the enamel that you have by using products containing fluoride and calcium, or by visiting your dentist.
- Opt for whitening kits provided by your dentist for better results
If you are thinking about an at-home whitening treatment, there are two options available for you to choose from – professional whitening kits and over-the-counter (OTC) whitening treatments. While OTC treatments are easily accessible, they are often damaging to the teeth and gums with results often undesirable and lasting for a short period of time. When you opt for whitening kits provided by a dentist, the trays are custom designed to hold the bleach correctly over the teeth without harming the gums. The whitening gel chosen is often also best suited to your teeth, which is a huge plus!
- Maintenance of whitening is very important
Your teeth have been whitened and you can see the amazing results, but don’t think it stops a week after treatment. Every time you eat and drink your teeth starts to accumulate stains, and at the same time your teeth whitening starts to wear off. After a whitening procedure, your dentist will often provide you with an at-home touch up kit with custom-fitted whitening trays, this is given with instructions as you will need to bleach your teeth at home for some time. If you are not too keen on using the trays, other forms of maintenance (which should be followed regardless) include avoiding certain foods and beverages that stain, keeping to an oral hygiene regime of brushing and flossing to prevent stains from coming back, and visiting your dentist for regular teeth cleanings.
At Dr Levi’s, we provide three safe and effective whitening treatments that will ensure you leave with the best results. To keep your smile looking its best, call us on (02) 9283 1900 or contact us via our form to enquire about our highly effective treatments or receive more information.