Teeth whitening is by far the most common cosmetic dental treatment, but before you take the plunge, there are some important things you really should know – Here are the 10 teeth whitening facts.
Fact 1 – Teeth are similar to your skin
You might understandably consider teeth to be rock-hard and therefore impenetrable, but you’d be wrong. Your teeth are in fact porous, containing thousands of tiny pores just like your skin. As a result, anything you eat, or drink will be absorbed into your teeth through these microscopic pores. How teeth whitening treatment works is to create a chemical reaction which in turn breaks up and lifts any stains up and out through these same pores. So, without pores teeth whitening wouldn’t be able to occur.
Fact 2 – Teeth whitening doesn’t damage your teeth
Far from popular belief, teeth whitening when carried out properly doesn’t damage teeth. On the contrary, professional teeth whitening utilises ingredients that remineralise and rehydrate teeth. Problems, however, can occur when people misuse store-bought products, so it’s important to always read and follow the instructions.
Fact 3 – The key to great teeth whitening is the method of delivery
Most whitening products use the same active ingredients (give or take) but the main difference in what makes a good teeth whitening treatment vs one that is bad, is the method of delivery.
For example, many over-the-counter whitening products use a one-size-fits-all tray which sits over the teeth. This is the vessel that holds the whitening gel. The problem is that all teeth are different. As a result, consumers will often experience ineffective or uneven whitening.
In contrast, when a tray is custom made to fit your teeth (similarly to those found in professional whitening kits) you stand a greater chance of getting a more even whitening effect.
Fact 4 – Custom fitted trays and kits are considerably more expensive
This is perfectly true and understandable. Let me ask you this… What other type of teeth whitening treatment is made just for you, to fit your mouth and enhance your smile? It’s easy to manufacture thousands of one-size fits all trays, but it becomes more time consuming and complex when each teeth whitening tray is custom-made for the individual in question.
Fact 5 – Sensitivity after teeth whitening is absolutely normal
You’ve probably heard stories of friends undergoing teeth whitening treatment to be told that it hurts like hell! The problem is that many people suffer from sensitive teeth (around 60% of the population at last count). This can be caused by genetics, cracked/damaged teeth or thinning enamel. Yet, many don’t realise it at the time. So they go out and buy the next best over-the-counter product and proceed to whiten teeth. Hey presto – it hurts!
In contrast, when you opt for professional teeth whitening, you’ll always be checked over by your dentist or hygienist first. They’ll know from experience whether you will be sensitive to teeth whitening treatment and may even suggest resolving the problem before any treatment begins. This way when you eventually do undergo professional tooth whitening it remains a comfortable experience.
Fact 6 – Professional teeth whitening is ever only temporary
There is no single whitening treatment that can whiten teeth permanently! We’ve already talked about how teeth are porous and therefore absorb stains caused by coloured foods, beverages and smoking. Well, unless you live on water (and probably lettuce) alone, any type of teeth whitening treatment is only ever temporary. Of course, how long it lasts depends on the foods you consume, but on average, you can expect to return for more whitening treatment every 6 months to 2 years.
Fact 7 – Stains cannot be removed overnight
Even the most sophisticated laser whitening treatments can’t lift stains overnight. Just as teeth staining is a gradual process, lifting those stains is equally the same gradual process. Of course, some teeth whitening treatments are more effective and faster acting than others – laser teeth whitening is a case in point – and in some cases, changes are noticeable after the initial treatment – but in the main, an effective teeth whitening process can take anywhere between 4 days and a few months to achieve.
Fact 8 – Crowns and veneers cannot be whitened
There is a reason why many people who undergo treatments like porcelain veneers and dental implants get their teeth whitened prior to treatment and that’s because no amount of whitening is likely to change the colour of dental crowns or veneers.
Remember, however lifelike they are, veneers and crowns can’t take on the physical characteristics or properties of teeth. That said, porcelain is indeed a stain-resistant material and has the ability to withhold staining, however, it can’t be whitened as our natural teeth can.
Fact 9 – The ideal time to undertake teeth whitening is before bed
Did you know that irrespective of the product you use, your teeth are more susceptible to teeth staining immediately after whitening? It’s true!
If we go back to how teeth whitening works, the chemical reaction lifts stains up and out via the teeth’s pores. So, by their very nature and because pores remain open for a period of time, teeth tend to stain quicker after whitening. Therefore, if you whiten before bed, you are unlikely to be eating or drinking any stain-inducing products. In addition, sleeping time allows sufficient time for your teeth to remineralise and rehydrate.
Fact 10 – Not all teeth can be made perfectly white
Did you know that the natural colour of your teeth is set at birth? Fortunately (or unfortunately, whichever way you look at it) this means that some people have naturally whiter teeth than others. Teeth whitening can only remove staining that has occurred over time and cannot change the underlying colour of your teeth. So this is something you should be aware of when hoping to achieve that dazzling Hollywood white smile because it might not always be possible. You could say that it’s like chasing the impossible dream – it isn’t going to happen!
If you feel that it’s about time you experienced what all the fuss is about then why not talk to No Gaps Dental about our professional teeth whitening. With 15 locations spread throughout the Sydney Metro area, we offer a convenient and affordable experience for all. Check out our website to find your nearest location.