50 shades of teeth whitening – what you should know about whitening

Read time: 2 mins

As much as our skin changes as we age, so do our teeth. Wear and tear, drifting teeth, receding gums are all sorts of common changes noticed as we age. Commonly, the most noticeable change that occurs is the discolouration of teeth. Tooth discolouration can be caused by tobacco use, dental trauma, medications, poor oral hygiene and certain drinks and foods. Teeth whitening has become a popular, conservative, aesthetic procedure in response to the demand for that radiant smile. 

The effect of whitening products on teeth is primarily due to the release of reactive oxygen from the active ingredient known as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These products decompose to form reactive oxygen which will bind to stain within the tooth and remove it in a safe and efficient manner. This is the only known method supported by scientific data to provide a clinical change in the stain levels on your teeth. Beware of any other products that claim to do this that do not use either of the products mentioned above.

There are techniques available to help whiten teeth which include:

  1. In chair professional whitening. By far the most effective and efficient technique, which involves the administration of the whitening product. Due to the higher peroxide content, this procedure can only be performed by a dental practitioner in Australia. This is to ensure that the patient is completely safe by ensuring their teeth are not decayed or infected prior to the procedure which can cause serious problems for the patient if treated with high concentration peroxides. This is great to ‘kick start’ the whitening of your teeth in just one sitting at the dental surgery.
  2. Take Home whitening. Using a lower peroxide content whitening gel and custom made whitening trays, patients are able to whiten their own teeth at home. Your dental practitioner will generally provide you with specific instructions on how to use the products. Legally within Australia, only a dental practitioner may use or provide whitening products containing 6% or more hydrogen peroxide content.
  3. Whitening toothpastes and strips. These products can be found on supermarket shelves. These consist of different toothpastes and strips, which are low in peroxide content, less than that available from a professional. These are commonly the poorest performers amongst whitening products but are not harmful. So try them if you wish but do not expect the same result you would get from a dentist prescribed tooth whitening treatment.

Post whitening results may vary between individuals depending on social factors, diet and oral hygiene. Really effective whitening may last between 6 and 12 months, and can be properly maintained with good oral hygiene and home whitening products available from your dentist.

Prior to making a decision regarding teeth whitening, it is important to seek professional advice from your dental practitioner as there are certain factors such as age, medical and dental history, that needs to be taken into consideration. It is ideal that you visit your dental practitioner for a check-up and clean to make sure your oral health is good before commencing whitening. At Pennant Hills Dental Centre, we offer all of the different options for tooth whitening and tailor the treatments to your specific needs. Book online or call and make an appointment for a consultation today.


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