Is Teeth Whitening Safe? What You Need To Know.

Want to whiten your teeth, but not sure if it’s for you?

In this blog we cover:

  • What is in whitening products
  • How does whitening work
  • Why dental consultation is best

Yes, teeth whitening is safe. There are strict laws and regulations set by the Australian Dental Association (ADA) that is in place to regulate the whitening industry, that monitors the safety and standards of all whitening products available in Australia. These are in place in relation to both dentists as well as any over-the-counter products.

What is in whitening products?

Hydrogen peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide is the active ingredient in whitening products. When used as direct they are completely safe. Over-the-counter products contain very small concentrations of the ingredient, which is why they are readily available to purchase over-the-counter without any dental consultation.

Only a dentist can use teeth whitening products containing over 18% carbamide peroxide or 5% hydrogen peroxide. Dentists possess the education and years of training required to assess a patient and determine if it is safe for them to undergo any treatment, and will address any potential oral health concerns identified before commencing treatment.

It is crucial to understand that these peroxide based formations are actually the best option for whitening. Some products call themselves ‘’all-natural’’ alternatives that contain materials such as sodium chlorite or sodium perborate. While these are natural ingredients, they actually soften and dissolve teeth enamel over time! The ADA has reported such products to the ACCC in order to make sure consumers are protected from misleading marketing gimmicks.

How does whitening work?

The peroxide whitening solution will penetrate the surface of the tooth and react with the colored molecules that have caused the staining marks and yellow discoloration on your teeth. It will break these molecules down, reducing their concentration which will create visibly whiter teeth.

Over-the-counter whitening products contain small amounts of peroxide, which isn’t enough to penetrate more than just the very shallow depths of your teeth enamel. The higher concentrated peroxide used by qualified dentists have the ability to soak deeper into the enamel so the whitening effect lasts much longer!

Are there any side effects?

Used as directed, teeth whitening will have no long term side effects. Higher concentrations of peroxide used in the teeth whitening treatment can cause short term side effects, which is why they can only be administered by a professional to minimize any potential discomfort. These mild, side effects may include:

  • Gum irritation: the peroxide used may cause irritation to the soft tissue of your gums. Any discomfort however, should be short lived.
  • Tooth sensitivity: the peroxide that penetrates the teeth could irritate the nerves and cause sensitivity. Toothpastes to reduce sensitivity and tooth mousse will help, and these are often prescribed to use in the lead up to treatment, as well as after, to help relieve pain and discomfort.

Whitening at the dentist is safe

Visit your dentist for treatment for whiter teeth. This is the safest way to achieve your teeth whitening goals. They will ensure that the whitening product is applied correctly and for the right amount of time. These factors are important, not only for the result, but also for your safety. Improper use of the whitening agent or peroxide solutions used in treatment kits could lead to extremely sensitive teeth or worst-case death of your tooth.

To learn more about the whitening process check out our blog on the different teeth whitening options.

Professional teeth whitening treatment personalized to match your exact needs. Book an appointment online or call us on 3878 3889 to talk to our dentists about your options now!

How to Whiten Your Teeth

Thinking about whitening your teeth? You’ve come to the right place!  

In this blog we cover:

  • Whitening options available
  • Pros and cons of each treatment
  • What is the best whitening method

Your smile is an important part of who you are. Stained and discolored teeth can be frustrating to deal with. Fortunately, there are several teeth whitening methods available. The two general ways are:

  1. Over-the-counter treatments from grocery stores
  2. Customized teeth whitening kits from your dentist that you can take home

Over-the-counter products contain less concentrated materials than what a dentist could prescribe. This means that you will be using these products longer and more frequently to achieve noticeable results. And these results won’t last as long either.

The whitening treatments dentists use and prescribe are more concentrated and are designed to deliver quick and long lasting white teeth. There are two ways for teeth whitening at the dentist, in chair treatment or take home treatment kits.

At Polished Dental we provide customized treatment packs to take home. To start the process we will have to take an impression using special putty to make whitening trays that perfectly fit all of your teeth. These will be made by a technician, so a second visit is required. In your customized treatment kit you will receive your personalized trays and whitening gel. The gel isn’t like any other product you find over-the-counter, it has high concentrations of whitening solution and will require refrigeration. The whitening process is easy, spread the gel onto the trays and fit the trays up over your teeth and leave on for about 30-50 minutes time. The kit will contain enough gel to perform a number of treatments, so you can obtain your whitening goal.

Over the counterPersonalised Take Home Kit

Pros

Cheap.Economical.
Long lasting and quick results.
Safety and Quality assured.

Cons

Might take longer to see results.
Dental treatment may be overlooked.
Product may not be the right fit for you.
Involves a number of treatments.

The best whitening method

The best way we can recommend to whitening your teeth is to see your dentist. This is the safest and most effective option available to you to achieve the goals you desire.

A dentist will take your oral health into consideration prior to commencing any teeth whitening procedures. They will determine the causes for the discoloration, it could be the result of decay or other underlying issues. In those cases over-the-counter products will be ineffective, and would probably cause more damage and pain unnecessarily. You could avoid this trouble by having a full picture of your oral health before starting off on any whitening treatment.

Teeth whitening – what are the different types available at the dentist?

In our last blog we talked about the differences between teeth whitening products available over the counter and specialized custom products from the dentist. In this blog we will delve deeper into the types of whitening available at the dentist.

  • Take home teeth whitening

Take home teeth whitening requires at least two appointments. In the first appointment we take molds to make a custom tray. Once the tray is ready we then check the fit to ensure it is a precise fit for your teeth and issue the whitening agent. This whitening agent is then placed in the tray and worn for approximately an hour a night for up to 2 weeks.

This method takes longer than the alternative in chair method but can be helpful for patients prone do sensitive teeth.

One large positive to take home whitening is provided your teeth stay in the same position, the trays can be used with remaining or new whitening material for refresher whitening courses – for example a year after the initial whitening course or before an event like a wedding.

  • In chair whitening

In chair whitening is the most effective and thus fastest way to whiten teeth. The whole process is done in the dentist chair. In this appointment, a barrier is placed to separate the gums and tongue away from the teeth. With this in place, we can then use a much stronger whitening agent. This allows the whitening to occur before your eyes.

We often recommend this option for patients who are more particular or those who have an event they wish to have the whitening ready for – such as a wedding or a party.

We also recommend you have a take home whitening treatment made as well – as it is an excellent way to maintain your newly fresh white smile with annual top ups

This image displays the relative concentration of active ingredient in various whitening solutions.

Tooth Whitening at Polished Dental
Tooth Whitening at Polished Dental

  • Single tooth whitening

An extra type of whitening available at the dentist is an internal bleach for root canaled teeth. Root canaled teeth can turn darker than neighboring teeth as there is no longer a nerve keeping the tooth hydrated and also because of the medicaments used when treating the tooth inadvertently causing internal staining.

Single tooth whitening can take several appointments – determined by how stained the tooth was to start with and also how the well the tooth responds to the whitening agent. In the appointments, a space is made within the tooth in which the whitening agent is placed and left and sealed over. This whitening agent is left in for several days to work and patients return to see how the tooth has reacted and see if another round of treatment is to be completed or enough whitening has been completed.

In very stubborn cases where internal whitening cannot achieve the desired results – we can place a cover over the front of the tooth. His can be in relatively inexpensive composite filling material or more aesthetic veneers or crowns.\

Click here to learn more about our teeth whitening service and how we’d be happy to help you! 

Tooth Whitening – Difference between OTC/dental products?

Tooth Whitening – What is the difference between over the counter/supermarket products and dental products.

A very common question we have from patients is:

Do whitening toothpastes you buy in stores or whitening packs you buy online work?

It’s a very broad question and there are a few aspects we need to consider to decide if they will work for you.

  1. What type of stain are you trying to fix?

Most whitening agents will work by breaking down or physically polishing away stains that have adhered to the tooth surface – for examples stains from coffee, teas and coloured soft drinks.

There are many other sources of discolouration however for which whitening agents will not work. These include; naturally darker teeth (from such things as thinner enamel and acid wear`), tooth decay and developmental staining within the mineral structure of the teeth.

It is important to know the type of stain because if the stain is from the latter group – whitening products will not work and any money spent on products will unfortunately be wasted.

  1. Is it safe to use the whitening product?

Whitening agents cannot be used if the nerve within the tooth is going to be directly exposed to whitening material. Examples of exposure include teeth with holes (or decay), cracks and teeth where the gums have receeded. Whitening agents are completely safe to use in teeth where the nerve is protected, but when no, the nerve can become very sensitive after treatment. This is why we recommend all patients have a check-up before whitening to prevent damaging nerves of teeth potentially leading to more issues and expense.

So you’ve had your check up and want to find out what’s right for you?

  1. Types of over the counter whitening agents:

Abrasive whitening toothpastes

Most whitening toothpaste available in supermarkets have an abrasive – aimed at lightly polishing away any stains. These can work – but to a limited degree. The worry is that the abrasive, with regular use, can wear away whiter enamel – which actually then leaves you with darker teeth. On the other hand – there is a worry that these abrasives are not strong enough for certain stains so there the risk of wearing away enamel comes with no potential gain.

Toothpastes with a chemical active agent

There are several chemical active ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide These work by chemically breaking down stains so that they then lift off enamel.

These are now available in some toothpastes and whitening packs. These can have a positive effect but are dependant again of the type and intensity of the stain. As these toothpastes aren’t delivered in a custom tray the paste touches not only the teeth but the gums and tongue and therefore the concentration of the active ingredient is much lower as to prevent irritating soft tissue in the mouth.

  1. Professional whitening from the dentist.

Professional whitening from the dentist can be more expensive than other alternatives because it very customised. By making a customised tray for you – the chemical active agent can be used in a much higher concentration. When used in the higher concentration – the stains can be removed much more efficiently and the custom trays prevents soft tissues like gums and tongues from becoming irritated.

This image displays the relative concentration of active ingredient in various whitening solutions.

Tooth Whitening at Polished Dental
Click to read more about Tooth Whitening at Polished Dental.