The ins and outs of tooth discolouration and whitening

Have you ever been drawn to someone else's bright, white smile? Maybe you’ve wished your teeth were just a few shades brighter. It’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed with all the different whitening toothpastes, whitening strips and bleaching trays on the market.

Keep reading to learn about the benefits of professional tooth whitening, what works and what may not.

“Teeth can become discoloured by tobacco use, poor oral hygiene and natural aging. Staining foods and drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine can also affect the colour of your teeth.”

It’s so important to make sure that tooth whitening is safe and effective. Incorrectly whitened teeth can lead to:

·         Too little or too much colour change

·         Uneven colour change leading to a blotchy appearance.

·         Relapse to original colour

·         Damage to teeth or gums causing sensitivity

·         Ingestion of dangerous bleaching chemicals

On the other hand, tooth whitening treatments recommended and carried out by your dental professional are:

·         Safe for your teeth and gums and any sensitivity can be managed

·         Based on treatments that are tried and proven, and are found to be effective and long lasting

·         Able to be managed to ensure you get the results you want

“It’s scary that so many people have their teeth bleached with online products or in whitening booths with no follow-up, and no compensation if it is ineffective or causes damage.”

Tooth whitening quick facts:

1.    Dentists routinely clean teeth and check for decay prior to whitening to prevent complications and ensure whitening is effective.

2.    Fillings, veneers and crowns will not whiten with your teeth. Your dentist will warn you of these areas prior to treatment and can replace them if necessary.

3.    There is a limit to how white your teeth will go. Your dentist will give you realistic expectations and advise you if whitening is right for you.

So if you’re tired of wasting your time and money on ineffective treatment and want to get real results keep reading to learn about the options that actually work!

1.    Whitening toothpastes

Many toothpastes claim to “whiten” or “brighten” your teeth which usually means the toothpaste contains an abrasive to remove plaque and stains. While this is important to maintain a healthy mouth, it may not give you the whiter, brighter teeth you would like. Some toothpastes do contain a bleaching agent such as hydrogen peroxide and may whiten teeth slightly but, for reasons of safety, this amount is very low.

2.    Home tooth whitening kit

This process involves your dentist making you bleaching trays to wear at home. These trays are custom made to fit your teeth perfectly. Trays purchased online may not fit as well and could cause uneven bleaching. The bleach used at home is stronger than in toothpaste but weaker than what you would receive at the dentist. This means that it may take longer to achieve the shade that you want.

3.    In-chair tooth whitening

This involves placing a strong bleach on your teeth and using a light to activate the material and whiten the teeth. Your dentist will use a number of protective materials to make sure this bleach does not cause damage to your tongue, cheeks or gums and will keep a close eye on you as you undergo treatment. The effect of this whitening can be seen immediately and custom trays will often be given to use at home to maintain your new smile.

Other options may work, however, dentists advise caution as there is very little information regarding their safety and long term effectiveness. If in doubt, speak to your dentist about a product or treatment before putting your health and smile at risk.

If you have any further questions about effective tooth whitening or would like to book a whitening consultation then please email us or book an appointment online for an assessment and discussion. Alternatively, you can always call the practice on 69215799 and speak to one of our friendly staff.

Kimberley Hayllar