Everything You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening

Everything You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening

A bright, white smile is something many of us want for ourselves. Pearly whites are associated with good oral hygiene and may even help us look more youthful and vibrant. It’s no wonder that white teeth are so sought after! 


But when white teeth don’t come naturally to you, you don’t need to simply accept it. Several teeth whitening treatments are on the market, with dentist-assisted and at-home options making it a more straightforward process than ever. But what is that process, and who is it for? 

This article discusses the causes of teeth discolouration and the types of teeth whitening options that may be available for you. For personalised advice, contact our team at Boroondara Family Dentist today.


Why Aren’t My Teeth White?

If you’re concerned about the colour of your teeth, you may find yourself admiring others’ teeth and wondering why yours aren’t as white. Some people naturally have whiter teeth than others, and some have undergone teeth whitening to brighten their smile, but regardless of their dental history, your question remains: Why aren’t my teeth that white?

There are many reasons your teeth may be discoloured, stained, or otherwise not as white as you’d like. Some common causes of discoloured teeth include:

  • Drinking beverages that tend to stain the teeth, such as coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Eating foods that tend to stain the teeth, such as beetroot, berries, and spices
  • Eating foods with artificial food colourings
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Antibiotic use
  • High levels of fluoride exposure
  • Genetics

Ageing also plays a role, as our teeth naturally undergo wear and tear throughout our lives. While the discolouration process typically happens slowly over time, if you notice it and it bothers you, teeth whitening may be an option.


Is Teeth Whitening For Me?

Teeth whitening is similar to other procedures because it isn’t suitable for everybody and carries risks. Your dentist will perform a dental examination and discuss your eligibility with you before recommending a specific type of teeth whitening (or none at all).

Teeth whitening isn’t recommended if you:

  • Have sensitive teeth
  • Have cracks or holes in your teeth
  • Have gum disease
  • Have untreated dental problems
  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding

It’s important to note that teeth with crowns, veneers, or fillings can’t be whitened— only your natural teeth. You can choose to have one tooth whitened, several teeth, or your whole smile.

Possible risks of teeth whitening include:

  • Temporary sensitivity in one or more teeth
  • Gum irritation
  • Mouth irritation

It’s dangerous to swallow any teeth whitening product, as they contain bleach. Swallowing this may cause nausea, stomach irritation, or even burns. Ensure you have your teeth whitened at your dentist or that you purchase a take-home kit from your dentist rather than an unregulated, unqualified practitioner, and follow the instructions carefully.


Teeth Whitening Options 

Teeth whitening is a process that aims to restore stained or discoloured teeth to a brighter, whiter colour. This may be done through take-home teeth whitening kits or in the chair at the dentist’s office.


1. In-Chair Teeth Whitening

If you’re deemed suitable for teeth whitening, in-chair teeth whitening involves your dentist applying a strong gel containing hydrogen peroxide to your teeth. They will then place a light over your teeth, which allows the gel to coat the teeth and whiten them. They will also often use protection for your gum tissue in an effort to reduce the risk of side effects such as sensitivity.

As in-chair whitening methods typically use stronger or higher concentrations of active ingredients, whitening your teeth at the dentist is generally the fastest way to see results. In many cases, you may see results immediately after your appointment! However, this may take more than one session if you’re looking for more dramatic results.


2. Take-Home Teeth Whitening

Take-home teeth whitening kits are available from your dentist and over-the-counter, such as pharmacies and supermarkets. The methods vary between products and brands, but most typically use trays containing carbamide peroxide-bleaching gel. The specific instructions will also differ, so make sure you refer to the instructions your dentist gives you or are on the packaging. Generally, you wear these trays for 2-4 hours or overnight. These typically lighten the teeth by 1-2 shades within a few days.


3. Whitening Products

Whitening products such as specifically-made toothpaste and mouthwashes typically contain baking soda, a mild abrasive that aims to scrub stains away. They may also contain charcoal, carbamide peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, and fluoride. While it may sound easy to simply exchange your regular toothpaste or mouthwash for a whitening one, some abrasives may damage your tooth enamel if used too often or for too long, so it’s recommended that you discuss this option with your dentist as well if it’s something you’re considering.


Shine Bright with Boroondara Family Dentist 

If you’ve always dreamed of a bright, white smile, it could be your time to shine! At Boroondara Family Dentist, we offer both in-chair and take-home teeth whitening options, all overseen by our team of professional and friendly dentists. Don’t put off those pearly whites any longer— make your appointment to discuss your options today!



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