Teeth Whitening FAQ
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens discolouration’s or stain of the tooth enamel and dentin. It lightens extrinsic tooth discolorations’s by a chemical reaction called oxidation. There are two types of teeth whitening bleach available; Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide gels.
What Causes Tooth Discolouration?
Teeth can become discoloured for a variety of reasons. Some of the common factors can (not limited to) general ageing and dietary factors including the consumption of coffee, tea, colas, red wine and tobacco. Other less common factors may include nerve damage, trauma, excessive fluoride and the consumption of tetracycline during tooth formation.
Is there anyone who shouldn’t Whiten their teeth?
Teeth whitening products should not be used if:
- You are under 18 years of age
- Are currently pregnant or attempting to become pregnant
- Are lactating or breastfeeding
- Are currently undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy
- Have periodontal disease or gums that are in poor or in an unsatisfactory condition including bleeding, sore and/or tender gums
- Overly sensitive teeth
- Wear braces
- Are currently in the active phases of any form of general, orthodontic, periodontal and/or specialist dental treatment
- Have decayed or carious teeth
The process is simple:
- Teeth whitening gel is placed directly and sparingly into your custom fit or thermoform bleaching trays.
- Your whitning trays are placed over your teeth - the active ingredient in the whitening gel begins to oxidise or break down.
- Oxygen enters into the tooth enamel and dentine, in turn, breaking down tooth discolouration’s and staining
Teeth Whitening doesn't modify the the structure nor damage the tooth or tooth surfaces.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Yes! Research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth with custom trays using a carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide formula is safe for healthy teeth and gums.
What is the difference between Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide gels?
These are the two types of teeth whitening gels that are currently available. All teeth whitening gels will be either a hydrogen or carbamide peroxide formulation.
Hydrogen peroxide is generally stronger and is produced in lower concentrations. This type of formulation breaks down rapidly requiring less wear time but generally involves a higher degree of temporary tooth sensitivity.
Carbamide Peroxide is longer acting and formulations are generally stronger in concentration. These types of gel are designed to be worn for longer time periods and are recommended for those concerned about post bleaching sensitivity.
Comparatively, a 6% hydrogen peroxide gel is equivalent to a 18% carbamide peroxide formulation i.e 1:3 ratio.
How long does take home Teeth Whitening take?
Results vary depending on the individual user, strength, type and method of bleaching used. However, the majority of people will be able to whiten their teeth within 1-2 weeks. Many users see visible results after approximately five-seven bleaching sessions. We suggest you whiten each night until you’re happy with the colour and then commence a regular top up regime to maintain your resultant tooth colour.
Remember teeth whitening results are extremely individual; therefore, a result that may appear satisfactory to one user may not necessarily be satisfactory for that of another.
How long do the results last?
Once you have initially whitened your teeth, your teeth should always be whiter than they originally were. However, the consumption of staining foods, drinks and other substances will cause your teeth to stain. To maintain your bright, white smile we recommend topping up every 1-6 months by using your bleaching kit 1-4 times.
Does whitening gel expire?
In most cases, bleach can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 12 months. Always read the whitneing gel expiry date prior to use. When applying teeth whitening gel to your trays the it should appear thick and viscous.
How do I put the bleaching gel in my trays?
Simply, place one-two pen drops of bleaching gel in the centre of each tooth indentation on the inside surface closest to the lip in both the upper and lower whitening trays - See our 'Instructions' page to download a copy.
When you place the trays over your teeth the whitening gel will naturally disperse to cover the entirety of the tooth. We do not recommend smearing or simply squirting whitening gel into your bleaching trays. This will not cause your teeth to whiten faster but can lead to severely irritated gums and will waste your whitening gel.
Can I whiten Caps, Crowns, Fillings, Veneers or Bridgework?
No. Teeth whitening will not whiten existing dental work including crowns or caps, fillings, veneers, bridgework, inlays and onlays etc. However, if there are external dietary or lifestyle stains these will most likely whiten e.g. tea, coffee, wine, tobacco etc. For the greatest aesthetics, fillings on your front teeth may require replacement after the whitening process.
Does Teeth Whitening have any Side Effects?
For the majority of patients, there are none. However, some will experience temporary sensitivity (dull or sharp, sensitivity to hot or cold). This will subside after several hours of ceasing treatment. Many of our products contain desensitising agents and fluoride to assist in sensitivity prevention.
If sensitivity is present, wear times can be shortened or made less frequent. Although take home teeth whitening is recommended to be completed consecutively, do not be concerned as this will simply lengthen the time required to achieve the same whitening point.
Additionally, the use of a desensitizing product or sensitive toothpaste will help to decrease sensitivity. These can be used before and/or after the whitening process and during routine tooth brushing.
Remember, using excessive whitening gel can also cause gingival irritation and overly sensitive teeth – so use your gel SPARINGLY!
During bleaching my gums felt as if they were burning. My gums appeared to go white. What's happened?
You have most likely overfilled your trays. You only require 1-2 pen sized drops of whitening gel in the centre of each tooth indentation.
Simply place smaller droplets in each tooth indentation on each tray and attempt wearing the tray for half the amount of time gradually increasing in time increments until you reach the recommended wear time. Avoid further bleaching and spicy foods or drinks until your gums are fully healed.
The gums will return to normal in a few hours and the whiteness will disappear. If your gums are overly irritated or “white” applying Vitamin E cream (available from most chemists) to the affected areas can assist.