Frequently Asked Questions
What is tooth whitening/bleaching and how does it work?
Tooth whitening is a process that lightens stains in the tooth’s enamel and dentine to give your tooth a whiter colour. When the gel is applied to the teeth, the active ingredient (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide), breaks down into water and oxygen ions. The oxygen ions enter the enamel and dentine breaking the bonds that hold the long stain molecules together. These newly broken down molecules are then easily removed from the tooth by your saliva.
Is it safe?
Yes! Teeth whitening under the supervision of a dental professional has long been regarded as safe and does not damage enamel or cause harm to your teeth and gums. The active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, has been safely used for many years in the treatment of bleaching teeth.
All our products contain Potassium nitrate and Fluoride which have been clinically proven to help reduce sensitivity and reduce caries by strengthening enamel. Together they help to improve the overall health of teeth. Bleaching will not weaken existing fillings or cements either. All our products have been manufactured to FDA standards
What causes discolouration?
The most common reasons for teeth to yellow or stain are:
Using tobacco, drinking certain liquids such as coffee, soft drinks, tea, red wine etc, and certain foods, as well as not taking good care of your teeth. Aging also causes teeth to be less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker. Genetics can also play a part (some people just have whiter teeth than others).
Intrinsic staining such as that from certain medications (eg: antibiotics, acne medication etc) can also cause teeth to discolour. It is possible for mild to moderate cases of tetracycline staining to be whitened although a certain level of commitment is required as this process can be slow.
Why don’t you use a UV light?
Extensive clinical research has long proven that the use of UV lights in tooth whitening procedures serves no purpose in the effect of achieving better results.
Numerous well regarded research articles on this topic have reported no signs of improvement with the use of light activated sources and concluded that light activation can add cost, cause burning of the soft tissue, increase operatory temperature, and dehydrate teeth rapidly causing increased sensitivity, for no additional benefit.
As a registered dental professional I am obligated to uphold professional standards and adhere to current clinical literature and best practice standard, which in this case, rejects the use of light based systems and gimmicks.
How long does whitening last?
Teeth will become discoloured again through the consumption of coffee, tea, soft drinks, certain foods, smoking, and aging. Results from in-clinic whitening generally last 6-18 months. At home custom teeth whitening trays can keep your teeth white for many years with the benefit of being able to simply ‘top up’ whenever desired.
Although teeth do re-stain it’s very easy to maintain a white smile for life! After your initial treatment most people can maintain their ideal result with the use of our whitening pens or strips.
What won’t whiten:
- Imperfections in enamel
- Discolouration due to thin enamel
- Discolouration due to metal fillings
- Discolouation from tooth trauma
- Restorative materials, including fillings, crowns and veneers
- Non vital teeth
- Some staining from certain antibiotics
Who is not suitable for whitening?
If you have any of the following dental conditions it is advisable that you do not undertake any form of whitening before consulting with your dentist.
- Decayed teeth
- Damaged enamel
- Periodontal disease
- Exposed roots or dentine
- Receded gums
- Overly sensitive teeth
- Have had recent oral surgery
What are the side effects of whitening?
Everybody responds differently to whitening, and sensitivity is sometimes a temporary side effect. It is possible you may get some mild gum irritation with at home whitening, however if you follow our instructions the risks are minimized.