Everything you’ll ever need to know about: teeth whitening
Your ‘big day’ is rapidly approaching but you’re just not happy with your smile. Instead of counting down the days, you’re dreading the paparazzi-style photo shoots, and practicing smiling without showing your teeth. Or perhaps some teeth discolouration is affecting your confidence socially or at work. For many people, teeth whitening can be a highly effective, affordable and non-invasive procedure for brightening your smile and boosting your confidence.
Whether you choose whitening in the privacy of your own home (using a dental-grade whitening kit) or prefer to have the treatment performed by specialists in the comfort and luxury of our West Leederville dental surgery (or a combination of the two) – consider this your go-to guide for teeth whitening.
Supermarket versus dental-grade teeth whitening
Most toothpastes on the market today make some claim about whitening your teeth, but how can you know if they will live up to their promises? According to Dr Sarah Varma, supermarket toothpastes may be an expensive way to achieve minor and only very temporary results. And don’t offer any guidance on how suitable whitening products are (or aren’t!) for individual buyers.
“Results aside, one of the greatest benefits of dental-grade teeth whitening is the consultative process you go through” says Dr Varma. “By choosing professional whitening, you can be sure that whitening process is suitable for you. And we can help you to set realistic expectations for the results you are likely to achieve.”
Is professional teeth whitening for you?
While I’m sure we would all love supermodel-white smiles (who wouldn’t!?), it’s important to remember that not all teeth are suitable for whitening. Your dentist can advise you on the condition of your teeth (damaged teeth and teeth with holes in them can be problematic for whitening), and guide you through your options. It’s worth noting that while entirely safe, teeth whitening is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, or those under the age of 14.
What actually happens during in-chair whitening?
Prior to treatment, a dentist will assess the suitability of your teeth for whitening. During your first consultation appointment, you will have the opportunity ask questions, discuss the shade of white you are trying to achieve, and receive advice on what it is realistic for you to achieve and maintain. Impressions for custom-made whitening trays may also be taken for your treatment.
During your second visit, all the magic happens. If you choose to have custom whitening trays made we will do this prior to your in-chair whitening treatment. The whitening process involves applying a bleach-based gel to the surface of the teeth (while protecting the gums). This gel is then activated using an LED light (please note, no UV lights are used as these can trigger cold sores). For maximum results, the process is repeated three to four times during your 60 minutes session in the chair. If you choose to have your treatment performed at The Smile Clinique, the time will race by as you choose between relaxing with an eye pillow and blanket, listening to music or catching up on your favourite Netflix programs.
Patients may opt to follow up their in-chair treatment with a dental-grade home whitening kit. Talk to your dentist to see if this approach is suitable for you.
The great thing about in-chair teeth whitening, is that you will notice your whiter, brighter smile immediately following your treatment. Ask your dentist to take some ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos so you can see just how far your pearly whites have come.
How to maintain your whiter, brighter smile
As with any cosmetic treatment – dental or otherwise – what happens when you leave the surgery can be just as important as what happens in the chair. To maintain your new whiter teeth and achieve optimal dental hygiene, we recommend you:
Continue to brush your teeth properly, twice daily
- Floss every day
- Avoid smoking
- Drink plenty of water and avoid drinks and foods likely to stain your teeth (coffee, black tea, red wine – anything that can stain a white shirt can stain your teeth especially post whitening). If you can’t avoid these drinks, consider drinking them through a straw.
How often is too often?
So you love your new smile, and can’t wait to do it all again! But how often is too often? Unfortunately, in the case of teeth whitening, there can be too much of a good thing.
Good teeth whitening should last anywhere between 6-9 months, so there’s certainly no need to visiting us again during that time. As a general rule, we recommend professional teeth whitening is completed no more frequently than once every 3 months – each time with a dental assessment to ensure the treatment is still suitable for you. You can touch up at home over 1-2 days following your in-chair treatment with a take home whitening kit – but no further touching up is recommended.
The Smile Cinique is pleased to offer patients both in-chair treatments and dental-grade custom home teeth whitening kits. Talk to their friendly team today to find out more.