TEETH WHITENING FAQ
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens tooth discolouration or stain of the tooth enamel and dentin. It lightens extrinsic tooth discolouration by a chemical reaction called oxidation. There are two types of teeth whitening bleach available; Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide. Hydrogen is fast acting and is far more likely to cause sensitivity when using it and carbamide, although takes slightly longer, is more gentle on the teeth.
What Causes Tooth Discolouration?
Teeth can become discoloured for a variety of reasons. Some of the common factors can and are 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 and the consumption of tetracycline during tooth formation or maturation phases. Excessive fluoride may also discolour teeth.
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 or attempting to become pregnant
• Have pre-existing health problems
• Have periodontal disease or gums that are in poor condition
• Suffer from excessively sensitive teeth,
• Wear braces or are currently undergoing active orthodontic treatment
• Have had recent oral surgery
• Have decayed teeth
• Have exposed tooth root(s)
• Suffer from colitis
• Are experiencing jaw problems
How does the process work?
The process is quite simple:
1. The teeth whitening gel is placed directly and sparingly into your custom fit thermoform bleaching trays.
2. When placed over your teeth the active ingredient in the whitening gel begins to oxidise or break down
3. Oxygen enters into the tooth enamel and dentin, in turn, breaking down extrinsic tooth discolouration and staining
It is important to note the structure of the tooth is NOT damaged or changed; only the tooth colour is made lighter.
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. It's imperative to follow the directions supplied and not to extend the recommended treatment duration.
What is the difference between Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide gels?
There are two main bleaching gel formulations: Hydrogen Peroxide and Carbamide Peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is generally stronger and is therefore produced in lower concentrations. Hydrogen Peroxide formulations will breakdown quicker requiring less wear time but generally involves a higher degree of temporary sensitivity. Carbamide Peroxide is longer acting and therefore 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 16% carbamide peroxide formulation i.e 1:3 ratio.
Which type of whitening Gel should I use?
We usually use carbamide peroxide because it is suitable for most people and we have found that the results are better.
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 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. It is important to note that 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. We do not recommend excessively bleaching teeth. Once you have used all of your bleach initially supplied in your 'Home Whitening Kit', you can purchase 'Top Up' kits to assist in your regular maintenance regime. It is important to note that during the tooth whitening process the teeth become slightly dehydrated which will make them appear lighter than they really are for a few days and so, you will need to allow for this. So if your teeth seem to darken slightly after you have stopped whitening, don't worry its only a slight difference but can be important when matching to existing crowns or other restorations.
Does whitening gel expire?
In most cases, bleach can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 12 months. When applying the whitening gel to your trays the gel should appear thick and viscous. If you are concerned about whether your bleach has expired please contact us the Smiles Centre. The wearing time for our home whitening kits is based on the strength of bleaching gel.
How do I put the bleaching gel in my trays?
The Dentist will show yo how to apply the gel to your trays but heres a summary in case you have forgotten. Simply, place one or two 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. 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?
Unfortunately, no tooth whitening method will 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. In most cases restorations on your front teeth may require replacement after the whitening process.
Does the process 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. Both Pola Day and Night 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 but these can also reduce the effectiveness of the tooth whitening process! It is also important to note that 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 be white. What's happened?
You have most probably overfilled your trays. You only require 1 to 2 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. 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. Alternatively, the use of a desensitising product may help. It’s important to avoid further bleaching and spicy foods or drinks until your gums are fully healed