Home > Blog

Teeth Whitening Options Explained

Teeth whitening Brisbane is the mostly searched cosmetic dental procedure in Brisbane and perhaps the same is true in all other major cities. People all around the world would like to have white bright teeth that do not look fake however it seems like people’s expectation has changed when it comes to naturally white teeth. These days people expect their teeth to be much whiter than what they expected a few years ago. This demand for whiter teeth has created a massive growth in teeth whitening technology and its application.

With in-chair teeth whitening treatment, a professional dentist can greatly enhance the beauty of your smile in a one-hour treatment session. The cost of such procedure is relatively low these days ranging from About $500 to $1200 depending on the dental practice, etc.  with this option, some people can expect to walk out of the dentist office with teeth eight (8) shades whiter but you need to consult with a dentist to see if you are a right candidate for in-chair teeth whitening procedure.

If you are wondering if you are a “right candidate for teeth whitening procedure” you are asking the right question so far. The answer will depend on the genetics of your teeth and the history of the previous dental works performed in your mouth. If your teeth are discoloured from tetracycline or excessive use of fluoride, then the result of teeth whitening may be uneven. As a rule of thumb, yellow teeth that are healthy respond best to in-chair teeth whitening treatment.

If for some reason you have black, dark gray and brown stains on your teeth, you should not expect too much from one-hour teeth whitening procedures, however consult with your dentist and ask if a routine whitening tray can help with these darker colours.

If you are considering use of dental crowns, veneers, and other artificial forms of teeth, you should notify your dentist if you’d like to take teeth whitening procedure. Because whitening does not alter the colour of dental crowns and you should do the teeth whitening before the dental crown colour selection session. In general whitening is only effective on natural teeth and does not whiten veneers, crowns and bonding materials in your mouth.

Sometimes teeth colour changes and darkens due to your genetics. And some lucky people have naturally whiter teeth compared to others. For some other people, teeth do not bleach well again because of their genetics.  A person’s age also affects how white or dark their teeth would look like because with as you go older, the dentine layer grows thicker and your teeth would look darker.

Dental traumas, smoking, drinking and eating certain foods can also discolour your teeth. Foods like curries rich in turmeric can change the colour of your teeth over time to yellow. Although turmeric is very beneficial to your health but it can cause a yellow colour over your teeth. Other food that can affect teeth colour are: coffee, tea, red wine, tomato sauce and soy sauce. Most of these are generally healthy food and we are not suggesting stopping their consumption but they can change the colour of your teeth and these discolorations can often be easily fixed with teeth whitening treatments.

Dentists can often polish away the stains on the surface of the tooth. However, when these colours penetrate the teeth structure then they would require teeth whitening technology to whiten the internal structure of the teeth.

Teeth whitening can be done in various ways these days. You have the option of:

  • In-chair one-hour teeth whitening
  • Take home whitening trays
  • Over the counter whitening products

In-chair Teeth Whitening

The in-chair option is very effective, easy and quick. You book a whitening appointment, the dentist probably cleans and polishes your teeth to remove the superficial stains, then applies the teeth whitening light for an hour and you can watch something on your iPad during the treatment. When the treatment is complete you hopefully exit the clinic with a bright smile that can last one to several years depending on your maintenance and diet.

The only down side to this method is a bit of tooth sensitivity during or after the treatment. You might feel a bit of pain for a day or two and it differs among different people but many believe that it’s worth to try. When the treatment is complete your teeth are dehydrated due to UV light application. Which is safe however to compare the before with after you should wait a couple of days so that the tooth dehydration goes away and you can have a real assessment of change in colour.

Take Home Teeth Whitening Trays

Take home trays are also a great option. Some dentists recommend take-home tray bleaching after an in-chair treatment to maintain the brightness of your teeth. A bit like a touch up every now and then when you feel that your teeth require a bit of maintenance and bringing back their brightness. Take home trays can also be used without and independent from in-chair teeth whitening treatment.

To make a custom tray our dentist takes an impression of your upper and lower teeth. The impression is used to make a custom-made whitening tray that perfectly fits your teeth arrangements. When the tray is made, you will be provided another appointment to try the tray and the dentist makes sure that it sits on your teeth perfectly and the quality is acceptable.

The clinic staff will show you how to use the tray or provide you with an instruction to use the tray properly. Normally you drop a drop of the whitening gel into the tray for each tooth and put the tray on. The tray keeps the whitening gel over your teeth and keeps the tooth surface covered by the gel. Normally they build the tray in a way that there is a tiny pocket over each tooth to contain a small amount of the whitening gel over the tooth.

If you use your tray as per the dentist instruction you should be able to see visible change over two weeks. You can take photos (under the same lighting conditions) to compare the change of colour over time. Remember that application of a whitening tray requires a bit of persistence. The benefit of take home tray option compared to the in-chair is that you do it at your come and you do not need to do it in a dentist chair so it is a bit cheaper than the in-chair whitening option. Price may range from $150 to $350.

Over the Counter Whitening Products

Option three for teeth whitening is use of over the counter whitening products. Which are cheaper but you cannot expect the same level of effectiveness compared to an in-chair whitening because these products are much weaker than the products a dentist is trained to use in her office. There has been reports and studies that show the effectiveness of whitening toothpaste is over-advertised and they probably have no effect on the colour of your teeth. Most of these claims are probably just marketing and there is no data to back up their claims.