Teeth whitening can help improve your smile by giving you brighter and whiter teeth. It’s an affordable and a popular choice to drastically improve your smile. Clients love that it’s a quick treatment too!
Why are my teeth not white?
Teeth have a few layers which impact its colour and explains why everyone has naturally different shades of teeth. The layers of the teeth include the outer enamel (translucent white colour), underneath is the dentine (yellow-ish colour), and the pulp in the centre of the tooth (containing blood and nerves).
Tooth discoloration over the years can happen because of extrinsic or intrinsic staining.
Extrinsic staining are outside factors that happen on the surface of the tooth giving a discoloured appearance. This can be due to drinking coffee, poor oral hygiene, and smoking for example. As you age, the enamel layer becomes thinner, and the yellow-ish dentine layer becomes more visible.
Intrinsic staining is due to some change occurring on the inside of the tooth. Often, this is due to damage when you were a child which impacts the developing adult teeth. This can include fluorosis (too much fluoride within the tooth structure giving it a brown, uneven colour) or trauma to the tooth (from falling on your face) causing internal bleeding in the tooth.
Teeth whitening is most effective against discoloration due to extrinsic staining. Intrinsic staining on the other hand, may require additional treatments as the discoloration is on the inside of the tooth. Be sure to have a comprehensive consultation with our qualified dentists to better understand which treatments may be best suited for you!
What treatment options are available? How expensive are they?
This treatment provides you with significant colour improvement in a short amount of time. The dentist will place a rubber shield over your gums and carefully apply high-strength peroxide gel directly on your teeth. At the session, the gel will be placed on the teeth for 15–20-minute intervals for a total of one hour.
Dentist take-home kits (~$400):
For long-term results, our dentists can provide you with a take-home teeth whitening kit for you to apply yourself. The kit consists of a lower concentration peroxide gel (compared to the in-office teeth whitening gel) which is placed on a custom-made bleaching tray for you to place on your teeth for at least an hour. The lower the concentration, the longer you can place it on your teeth – some kits allow you to keep the gel on your teeth overnight.
Over-the-counter whitening products (~$100 or less):
This is a store-bought kit that contains a bleaching gel with a much lower concentration than that found in the dentist take-home kits. It comes with a one-size-fits-all tray or strips to apply to your front teeth. Unfortunately, this method may minimally whiten only your front teeth and not your entire smile.
What is Zoom! teeth whitening?
This is another tooth whitening treatment in which a dentist uses a rubber shield to protect your gums and applies Zoom! hydrogen peroxide whitening gel on your teeth for 15-minute intervals over a total of 45 minutes. The Zoom! light will also be used during this time to quicken the process of tooth whitening as it can better penetrate the teeth to remove stains and discoloration.
Once the treatment is complete, sensitivity-reducing gel will be applied to your teeth to prevent any pain you may experience after the treatment.
What are the risks with teeth whitening?
Generally, teeth whitening treatments are safe, especially in the hands of a qualified dentist. When using generalized over-the-counter products, be sure to do your research on the chemicals being used along with their effectiveness and risks.
The most common symptoms individuals experience after a tooth whitening procedure are the following:
Sensitivity: As high concentrated bleaches are being used, the teeth may feel more sensitive to temperature, pressure, and touch. Often, this feeling lasts for 1-2 days. Sometimes the feeling can persist for a month, however, with the use of toothpastes that contain potassium nitrate and other products recommended by your dentist, this feeling should slowly decrease over time.
Pain: Sometimes, individuals may experience a shooting pain in their teeth (often experienced with front teeth). The pulp of the tooth consists of nerves that feel this pain, if the tooth has any faulty areas exposing the pulp to the bleaching solution it can cause this pain. Often, this is due to cracks in the teeth, poor fillings, or gums that expose more of the tooth surface.
Gum irritation: Generally, over 50% of people who whiten their teeth experience gum irritation. This is caused by the bleach or the whitening tray being in contact with the gums. This irritation can last for a few days and decreases after the individual stops using the bleaching product or the concentration of the product is decreased.
Unfortunately, previous dental work that has been done (crowns, veneers, tooth-coloured fillings etc.) that have been done will not be affected by the tooth whitening treatment. This may lead to a mismatch in colour appearance as your natural teeth will look whiter and brighter, while the previous dental work will not change in colour.
How long will my teeth stay white?
The length is highly dependent on each individual; habits such as smoking and drinking coffee will stain your whitened teeth more quickly. However, if caution is taken, teeth whitening treatments can last up to three years.
Our experienced and qualified dental staff are excited to give you personalised information about the effectiveness of teeth whitening for you. Please bring in all your questions and we would love to help you choose the best option for your needs and budget!