There’s no doubt that transforming your smile is an ongoing process that requires hard work and dedication. Undertaking orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign or braces is generally the first step which often takes a year or two to achieve straight, healthy teeth. While most patients are generally happy with their teeth at this point, some patients decide to take an additional step and whiten their teeth to remove any stains. There are a variety of teeth whitening treatments available ranging from in-office to DIY treatment, and care must be taken to ensure you achieve the best results.
If you’re interested in whitening your teeth, there are numerous factors which should be considered and it’s vital that you understand how it works and what to expect. To give you some guidance, today we’re going to explore the teeth whitening process in detail along with taking a look at the pros and cons of undertaking this treatment.
The teeth whitening process
Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic dentistry procedure whereby whitening products, namely hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, are used as bleaching agents to make teeth appear whiter. Modern teeth whitening procedures have been used since the 1980’s as a relatively safe and inexpensive way to enhance the appearance of teeth. Most patients either whiten their teeth at their dentist or use at-home whitening products such as strips or gels.
The chemicals used to whiten teeth work on a time vs concentration basis where the higher the concentration of chemicals, the less time it takes to work and vice versa. Additionally, the higher the concentration of chemicals, the higher the chance of encountering problems and the faster the treatment wears off. Generally, the whitening products used by dentists are much more concentrated than those used in DIY products simply because there is a greater risk of inflaming the gums and professional expertise is needed to ensure safety.
How much does teeth whitening cost?
The cost of teeth whitening treatment varies considerably depending on how you perform the procedure. Dentists typically charge $500 or more whereas you can buy whitening strips from the supermarket for around $25. For almost all patients, teeth whitening achieves the best results when patients have a healthy mouth, have had a thorough exam prior to the procedure, and whose teeth are clean with plaque and tartar completely removed.
What are risks and side effects?
There are several side effects of the teeth whitening procedure which should be noted. Most patients experience some tooth sensitivity after the procedure regardless of whether it was performed by a dentist or DIY. In addition, some patients experience gum irritation which is typically the result of ill-fitted whitening trays where the chemicals come into contact with the gums. Any sensitivity or tissue irritation will generally subside within one to three days after the procedure. Other side effects which may be experienced include an upset stomach and a burning sensation in the throat.
Despite this, clinical studies have indicated that teeth whitening is safe as long as the manufacturer’s guidelines are followed correctly. The whitening products included in these studies include whitening toothpastes, strips, gels, whitening rinses, tray-based whiteners, and in-office whitening procedures. It’s highly encouraged to undertake the teeth whitening procedure under the supervision of an oral health care provider to reduce the impact of these risks and side effects.
What are the pros and cons of the teeth whitening process?
It’s important to note that if a tooth has suddenly turned brown, grey, or black, you should see your dentist as soon as possible because it’s a symptom of a serious problem that teeth whitening will only make worse. Like any procedures, teeth whitening has pros and cons which are outlined in the following:
- Quick fix
- Whiter teeth
- Relatively cheap
- Low risk of causing harm to your teeth
- Many choices available including shade of colour and how to administer the product
- Doesn’t change the colour of crowns or fillings
- Doesn’t work on all teeth
- Can cause some short term tooth sensitivity
- Can cause damage to existing tooth conditions
- The results only last for a couple of months up until a year before re-application is needed
Always remember that most teeth stains are removed during routine dental cleaning and don’t require chemical treatment. It’s best to seek advice from your dentist or orthodontist about which teeth whitening options which are best suited for your requirements.
If you require any further information about teeth whitening, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the professionals at Clear Smiles Orthodontics at Robina by phoning their friendly staff on 07 5593 3733.