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South West Rocks Family Dental has been proudly serving the South West Rocks and Kempsey Shire for over 30 years.
We all want a white smile and the simplest and most cost effective way is Teeth Whitening. Teeth whitening is a safe and effective cosmetic procedure that can remove stains and discoloration from your teeth, giving you the radiant smile you’ve always wanted. In this guide, we’ll explore the various methods available, from at-home treatments to professional whitening sessions, so you can choose the best option for your needs. Let’s get started on your journey to a brighter, whiter smile!
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that aims to remove stains and discoloration from your teeth, restoring their natural whiteness and brilliance. Various factors contribute to tooth discoloration, including age, consumption of staining substances (coffee, tea, wine, tobacco), certain medications, and genetics. Teeth whitening offers a non-invasive solution to achieve a brighter smile, boosting self-confidence and improving your overall appearance.
Our teeth serve many purposes. They help us chew our food, speak clearly, prevent our face from signs of ageing and importantly, allow us a confident, proud smile. Confidence is crucial to emotional and mental health and while teeth whitening is inherently cosmetic, we still believe this is something that our Kempsey Shire patients deserve to understand. Not for everyone, but hopefully this guide helps if teeth whitening is for you.
There are several methods of teeth whitening available, each with its pros and cons. These can be broadly classified into two categories: Over-the-counter treatments and professional treatments.
We want all of our patients to consider two things before making their choice:
- Whitening is using chemicals to break down molecules within the teeth. As you can imagine, they’re effective but also dangerous if misused. I’ll fitting trays or inappropriate medication doses can lead to gingival burning or excessive sensitivity and even pulpitis.
- For many of us, we have fillings of different types in our teeth. These will not whiten. Whitening, for some, can worsen the colour discrepancies and lead to a less satisfied outcome.
For these reasons a consultation with a dentist, whichever method you choose, is a crucial first step before embarking on a journey to a whiter radiant smile. Come to South West Rocks Family Dental to discuss your smile and Teeth Whitening with a free Smile Consult now!
These over-the-counter options provide a more affordable way to try whiten your teeth. Some popular at-home treatments include:
- Whitening toothpastes: Specially formulated to remove surface stains with gentle abrasives and polishing agents. Note that abrasives such as this can exacerbate wear and erosion as well as sensitivity and do not contain a whitening product.
- Whitening strips: Thin, flexible strips coated with a peroxide-based gel that adhere to your teeth and gradually lighten them over time.
- Whitening gels and trays: Over-the-counter mouthguards filled with a whitening gel that you wear for a specified duration.
Our major concern
Professional teeth whitening procedures are performed by a dentist and typically yield faster, more dramatic results with less sensitivity and risk. Some common in-office treatments include:
- In-Office Bleaching: A high-concentration peroxide gel is applied to your teeth, and a specialised light or laser may be used to accelerate the whitening process. This is a reasonable method for fast results however the long term effectiveness is similar to at-home bleaching with more sensitivity and more cost.
- At Home Tray Bleaching: This is our preferred method. Customised trays fit your teeth perfectly and reduce excess and potential gingival burning caused by many over-the-counter alternatives. The key difference is the ability to tailor the choice of bleach to get the most impact with the least sensitivity. We choose between medicaments and timeframes to optimise your results.
- Internal bleaching: Suitable for teeth that have undergone root canal treatment, this method involves placing a whitening agent inside the tooth and sealing it with a temporary filling.
- Veneers: A choice made when whitening either isn’t suitable or effective enough to achieve your goals. Thin, custom-made shells of tooth-coloured material that cover the front surface of your teeth, providing an instant, long-lasting whitening effect.
While teeth whitening is generally safe, some individuals may experience side effects such as tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. It’s essential to consult with a dental professional before undergoing any whitening procedure to ensure the chosen method is suitable for your specific needs and oral health. With the right approach, teeth whitening can help you achieve a radiant smile and boost your self-esteem.
Pros and Cons
Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that offers several advantages, but it also comes with a few drawbacks. Here is a balanced overview of the pros and cons associated with teeth whitening.
Enhanced appearance: Teeth whitening can significantly improve your smile by removing stains and discoloration, resulting in a brighter, more attractive appearance.
Boosted self-confidence: A whiter smile can enhance your self-esteem, making you feel more confident in social and professional situations.
Affordable options: At-home teeth whitening treatments are relatively inexpensive compared to other cosmetic dental procedures, making them accessible to a wider audience.
Customizable results: With various methods and levels of whitening available, you can choose the best option for your desired outcome, from subtle improvements to dramatic transformations.
Non-invasive procedure: Teeth whitening is a non-surgical process that doesn’t require anaesthesia or cause permanent changes to your tooth structure, making it a safer option compared to more invasive cosmetic procedures.
Temporary results: Teeth whitening is not permanent, and your teeth may become stained again over time due to age, lifestyle habits, or certain medications. This may take a few years and usually repeating the process brings them back to the white radiant smile you initially achieved.
Side effects: Some individuals may experience tooth sensitivity or gum irritation as a result of teeth whitening treatments, particularly when using at-home products without professional guidance.
Ineffective on some stains: Teeth whitening may not be effective on certain types of discoloration, such as those caused by trauma, fluorosis, or tetracycline antibiotics.
Not suitable for everyone: People with dental restorations, such as crowns, veneers, or fillings, may experience uneven whitening results, as these materials do not respond to whitening treatments. Additionally, teeth whitening is not recommended for individuals with gum disease, worn enamel, or cavities.
Cost of professional treatments: In-office teeth whitening procedures can be expensive, and they may not be covered by dental insurance plans since they are considered cosmetic treatments.
In conclusion, teeth whitening can offer numerous benefits, but it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons and consult with a dentist such as the South West Rocks Dental team before deciding on the best method for your specific needs and oral health.
FAQ's: Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening works by breaking down the stains on the tooth surface and within the teeth using bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These agents penetrate the enamel and break down discoloured molecules, resulting in a lighter tooth colour.
When performed according to the manufacturer’s instructions or under the supervision of a dental professional, teeth whitening is generally considered safe. However, some individuals may experience side effects such as tooth sensitivity or gum irritation. It’s essential to consult with a dentist before undergoing any whitening treatment to ensure it’s suitable for your specific needs and oral health.
The longevity of teeth whitening results can vary from person to person and depends on factors such as lifestyle habits, oral hygiene, and the chosen whitening method. Generally, teeth whitening results can last anywhere from six months to a few years. Regular touch-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene can help prolong the results.
Teeth whitening can cause temporary tooth sensitivity for some individuals. This is typically due to the bleaching agents penetrating the tooth enamel and irritating the nerves. Tooth sensitivity usually subsides within a few days after the treatment. Using a toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth can help alleviate discomfort during this period. We always provide sensitive toothpaste and advice for our patients who are whitening their teeth.
Dental restorations do not respond to whitening treatments the same way natural teeth do. As a result, individuals with crowns, veneers, or fillings may experience uneven whitening results. A consult with us before whitening will determine the best approach for your specific situation.
To prolong the results of your teeth whitening treatment, practise good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and using a mouthwash. Additionally, limit the consumption of staining substances such as coffee, tea, wine, and tobacco. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can also help maintain your results.
Teeth whitening is most effective on extrinsic stains, which are those caused by external factors such as food, drinks, and smoking. Intrinsic stains, such as those caused by trauma, fluorosis, or certain medications, may not respond as well to whitening treatments. In some cases, alternative cosmetic procedures, like veneers or dental bonding, may be more suitable for addressing intrinsic stains. We’re happy to discuss your staining and the optimal path to the smile you desire.