Cosmetic Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening is a simple and effective cosmetic procedure that is perfectly safe when done under the supervision of a dentist. The trick, says Dr Chai Lim, is to make sure that your whitening kit is prescribed specifically for your teeth, as this will ensure the best results, with virtually zero risk.
At Measured Dental Care, we offer two methods of teeth whitening, and will recommend the best option depending on the condition of your teeth and how quickly you want results.
IN CHAIR WHITENING
This is a one hour process that will make your teeth look whiter immediately. Because the chemical process is stronger in this session than in the take-home option, it is usually recommended only for more porous, younger teeth. You’ll also get your own custom-fitted mould and gel to take home with you for when you want to do a touch up in the future.
TAKE HOME KIT
This involves us taking a mould of your teeth to make your own custom kit. We will then show you how to apply the whitening gel and instruct you as to how often to use it in order to get the results you want. Because the chemical whitening process takes place over a longer period of time compared to one hour in the chair, this option is gentler and is better suited to people with sensitive teeth or with more dense dentine (dentine becomes more dense with age).
The whitening effect of both the chair and take home kit lasts 6-9 months, after which you can use your kit for 2 or 3 nights in a row to touch up.
What about whitening toothpaste - does it work? Yes and no. Dr Lim explains that there are two types of teeth staining - extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic staining is surface discolouration, and that polishes off pretty easily in your dental hygiene appointment. Whitening toothpastes contain polishing agents to achieve a similar effect to the polishing that we do in your dental hygiene appointment, but of course we won’t miss any spots or brush harder in some places. Routine dental appointments should take care of extrinsic staining, but if you want to investigate whitening toothpaste as well, Dr Lim recommends discussing it with your dentist first so that you don’t accidentally overdo it and wear back the enamel.
The second type of staining is intrinsic, and this is the type that doesn’t polish off. Intrinsic staining occurs due to age, some medications, and/or genetics, and responds best to the chemical processes that we use in our chair and take-home kits. Whitening toothpaste will have no effect on this kind of discolouration.
When it comes to reversing intrinsic staining, the safest and most effective treatment is one that is prescribed for your teeth by a dentist. There are plenty of off-the-shelf options, however the chemicals used in them can burn the mouth and throat if administered in doses that are too strong or applied in the wrong part of the mouth, which is why current Australian guidelines restrict sales of teeth whitening products over the counter to less than 6% hydrogen peroxide and/or 18% or less carbamide peroxide. This means that the more concentrated (and more effective) whitening agents are restricted to dispensation by registered dental professionals.
Unfortunately, some sellers ignore the guidelines altogether, and until they are caught out they put a lot of people at risk by selling whitening products at dangerously high doses. Again, this is why we prefer our clients to consult with a dentist before using any whitening products. Whitening can be perfectly safe, but only if the person prescribing or selling the product is trustworthy and knows what they’re doing!
To enquire about teeth whitening with Measured Dental Care, get in touch today.