Teeth Whitening – What Works And What Doesn’t?
No matter how often you brush and floss or visit the dentist for a professional clean, your teeth are going to lose their pearly white shine as time goes by.
Discoloration, stains and overall colour changes take place as the enamel of the teeth weakens and becomes more porous, absorbing colours from food and beverages resulting in a yellow or grey appearance.
Teeth whitening provides an effective solution to removing or reducing discolouration and stains.
However, some teeth whitening techniques are more effective than others. There are basically four different methods to choose from:
- Teeth whitening toothpaste
- Teeth whitening strips or home whitening kits
- Custom-fit tray whitening
- Laser bleaching.
So which of these techniques actually work and which ones don’t?
1. Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Most well-known toothpaste brands produce a teeth whitening toothpaste. These toothpaste are basically just scrubbed onto teeth in order to reduce discolouration.
The process is often slow and can take quite a while before you see results and what’s more, can actually damage the teeth.
Whitening pastes are abrasive and therefore wear down the enamel of the tooth.
This can cause the teeth to become even more porous and increase the likelihood of discolouration.
Extended use can result in the dentin or inside of the tooth to become exposed, resulting in brown marks and tooth sensitivity.
Whitening toothpaste is largely ineffective as contact with the teeth is too short to provide noticeable results.
Furthermore, this abrasive technique only addresses the stains that occur on the enamel and not the appearance of dentin.
2. Tooth Whitening Strips Or Kits
Some tooth whitening strips or home kits are more effective than others.
These kits contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide which effectively bleaches the teeth and removes stains and discolouration.
However, these two chemicals can be very abrasive and will corrode the enamel and expose the dentin over time.
Tooth sensitivity and mouth sores are both common side effects with this type of tooth whitening.
Regular use of strips or whitening kits can aggravate this problem. However, results do appear after just a few days (commonly between 3 and 5 days).
It is not recommended to use strips or kits that contain hydrogen peroxide which could be toxic and hazardous to your health.
While carbamide peroxide is a better option, it is still not advisable. Kits that have higher concentrations of these chemicals are likely to damage your teeth faster.
When using strips or home whitening solutions, it is better to opt for weaker strengths that work over a period of weeks rather than a few days.
3. Custom Whitening Trays
Custom whitening trays are available from your dentist or oral hygienist who provide professional teeth whitening services.
These trays are often highly effective and provide the best results in a relatively short period of time.
Although issues such as teeth sensitivity can arise, they are far less common than compared to the use of home whitening solutions.
The bleaching substances are absorbed through the enamel providing a whitening solution for both enamel and dentin.
This is by far the most superior means of teeth whitening although repeat appointments may be necessary to achieve the best results.
4. Laser Teeth Whitening
Laser teeth whitening is a relatively new technology that provides highly effective results.
Exposure time is shorter relative to other types of effective teeth whitening solutions and the results are often longer-lasting.
Although this procedure is growing in popularity, there is limited availability and not everyone is a candidate for laser treatment.
It is highly recommended to trust the experts and get teeth whitening performed by an experienced dentist, oral hygienist another dental practitioner rather than opt for DIY solutions that could be hazardous to your health and cause more harm than good.
If you are looking for a compassionate, professional and experienced dental clinic for teeth whitening or other dental procedures and advice, please call us at Pinnacle Dental today on (03) 9052 4422.