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Teeth whitening treatments have grown tremendously in popularity in recent years, and it’s no wonder why. This cosmetic dental treatment removes discolouration and brightens up your appearance. It really does prove how a healthy set of teeth can lift your appearance. We thought we would clear up a few misconceptions about whitening, and give you some insight into how teeth whitening works.


You Should Always Get Your Dentist’s Approval

If you only remember one of the points we’ve noted here, it should be to ensure you get your dentist’s approval prior to whitening. It’s really important that you only whiten healthy teeth and gums that are free of cavities, plaque and tartar.


Professional Whitening Is Safe

When it is performed by a qualified and experienced dental practitioner, teeth whitening is safe. Professional-grade bleaching formulations have been designed to remineralise your teeth, protect your tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity. When you use a professional teeth whitening product under the supervision of your dentist, your chances of side effects and complications are extremely low.

Using over-the-counter products (or professional-grade products without your dentist’s approval) can result in long term damage to your teeth and soft tissue.


A Teeth Whitening Treatment Is An Effective Way To Improve The Aesthetics Of Your Smile

If you want to enhance your natural smile and even look younger, Teeth whitening is a highly effective and less expensive option than veneers. Veneers require that some portion of your teeth be worn down whereas teeth whitening enables you to retain your natural shape and tooth thickness.


Abrasive Substances Can Damage Your Teeth

There’s plenty of Internet literature out there encouraging people to use household substances to whiten their teeth and remove discolouration. A lot of these substances are abrasive and can cause damage to your tooth enamel. Substances like lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda

Teeth whitening products actually penetrate the enamel of your teeth and remove stains from the dentin, which is inside your teeth. Extrinsic stains like those caused by exposure to dark substances like coffee, tobacco and cola, can generally be removed during a professional clean at your dentist every six months.

As you get older, the dentin in your teeth becomes more discoloured. When we are born, we all start out with white dentin, but it becomes more yellow as we age. How teeth whitening works, is by activating hydrogen peroxide so that it can penetrate your teeth enamel.

You Can Influence How Long Your Smile Stays White For

You may be able to make your whitened smile last a little longer if you avoid smoking, and don’t drink red wine or coffee. In time, it is likely that your teeth will gradually discolour, so you can discuss top-up treatments with your dentist when you go for your six-month check-ups.


You Can Choose To Whiten In The Dentist’s Chair Or At Home

Most professional whitening treatments can be performed in your dentist’s chair, or under the supervision of your dentist, at home, making use of customised trays. Typically, the at-home treatments take longer because they contain a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Your dentist will give you a set of trays that have been created to match the contours of your teeth (and to ensure that your soft tissue doesn’t come into contact with the bleaching agent).

It’s important that you follow your dentist’s instructions closely if you use an at-home system. Don’t exceed the wear time and don’t use the product for longer than instructed.

If you do have an in-chair whitening treatment you can expect results in 45 to 60 minutes. This is ideal for patients who have a special occasion to attend or a deadline they’d like to achieve a whiter smile by. When your teeth are whitened by your dentist, he or she will use a bleaching agent containing 25-40% hydrogen peroxide and activate it with a blue light or laser. Your dentist can repeat the bleaching step three or four times in one session. This means you can expect faster results.

The other benefit of having teeth whitening done by your dentist is that individual teeth can be given attention. This is especially useful if you have stains or darker discolouration in certain areas. And, in the unlikely event that something does go wrong, your dentist is equipped and trained to manage the situation professionally.

Are you thinking about teeth whitening and wondering what kind of results you can expect? It’s always best to get a professional opinion before going ahead with any cosmetic dental treatment. Please contact us for a convenient appointment: (02) 8203 8760.

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