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Do You Need Teeth Whitening? How does it work?

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15 December 2022

If you have ever wondered if you need teeth whitening, the answer is probably yes. Teeth whitening is a very popular cosmetic procedure that can significantly improve the appearance of your smile. In fact, many people believe that whiter teeth can make them look younger and more attractive.

 Teeth whitening is a procedure of bleaching your teeth to lighten them. The bleaching agent used is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These agents offer the desired results by breaking down the stains on your teeth and making them lighter. 

What type of stains do teeth have? 

The most common type of stains on teeth are those caused by food and drink. Coffee, tea, red wine, and smoking are all common culprits. Other types of stains may occur due to medications or medical conditions.  

Stains can be categorised in two ways: extrinsic and intrinsic. 

Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of your teeth. They are usually easier to remove than intrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains, on the other hand, are those that occur below the enamel of your teeth. These stains are stubborn, difficult to remove, and may require more aggressive whitening treatments. 

What are the various teeth whitening options? 

There are multiple teeth whitening options available. These options include: 

In-office teeth whitening: In-office teeth whitening is done by a dentist. The procedure usually takes about an hour. 

At-home teeth whitening: These kits are available over the counter or online. They usually involve using a bleaching agent and mouth tray. The procedure with at-home kits may take a few days to a few weeks. 

Over-the-counter teeth whiteners: Over-the-counter teeth whiteners are available in the form of gels, toothpaste, and rinses. They usually contain lower concentrations of bleaching agents than professional products. 

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How teeth whitening works? 

As mentioned earlier, teeth whitening works by using a bleaching agent to break down the stains on your teeth. The bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide break down the molecules that cause the staining. This process is called oxidation. 

The concentration of the bleaching agent will determine how long the treatment will take and how effective it will be. Higher concentrations will usually mean faster and more effective results. However, higher concentrations can also increase the risk of side effects such as tooth sensitivity.

Tooth whitening is not a one-time treatment. You will likely need to keep doing it multiple times yearly to achieve the desired results. How long you will have to carry out the treatment will depend on the severity of your stains. 

 Are there any risks involved with teeth whitening options? 

Teeth whitening is generally safe when done under the supervision of a dentist. However, there are a few risks linked to the procedure. These risks include: 

  • Tooth sensitivity: Teeth whitening can cause temporary sensitivity of the teeth and gums. This sensitivity is usually mild and will go away on its own within a few days.
  • Gum irritation: The bleaching agents can irritate the gums. This irritation is usually temporary and will go away after treatment. 
  • Damage to tooth enamel: The bleaching agents used in teeth whitening can damage the enamel of your teeth. This damage is usually not permanent and can be repaired by your dentist. 

Are teeth whitening results long-lasting? 

The results of teeth whitening are temporary. The length of time the results last will depend on your lifestyle and habits. Factors that can shorten the duration of your results include: 

  • Drinking too much coffee, tea, or red wine
  • Smoking cigarettes or cigars
  • Eating foods that can stain your teeth (e.g., curry)
  • Not following proper oral hygiene habits (e.g., not brushing or flossing regularly)

You can prolong the teeth whitening results by avoiding these habits and undergoing touch-up treatments as needed. 

What are teeth whitening touch-ups? 

Teeth whitening touch-ups are periodic treatments that you can undergo to maintain the results of your teeth whitening. The frequency of these treatments will vary as per your lifestyle and habits. Touch-up treatments can be done at home or in the office. 

In-office touch-up treatments are usually quicker and more effective than at-home treatments. However, they are also more expensive. At-home touch-up kits are available for purchase over the counter or online. These kits usually involve using a bleaching agent and mouth tray. 

 If you consider getting your teeth whitened, you must talk to your dentist first. They can help you decide which teeth whitening method suits you and your smile. Call us on (03) 9646 2577 or drop an email at to get answers to all your queries related to our teeth whitening procedures. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS  

What is teeth whitening? 

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that lightens teeth by removing surface stains and discolouration. Teeth whitening is one of the most requested services at the dentist, and it’s a quick and easy way to improve your appearance. There are many products and methods available for teeth whitening. Your cosmetic dentist can provide you with custom trays to use at home with bleaching agents, or they may offer an in-office bleaching treatment. In-office treatments are typically more expensive but can produce quicker results. It’s essential to speak to your dentist before starting any teeth whitening treatment to make sure it’s appropriate for you and will not cause harm to your 

Is discolouration of teeth common?  

Yes, discolouration of teeth is quite common. It can be caused by various factors, including smoking, drinking coffee and tea, and eating foods that stain teeth (such as berries or curries). Teeth can also become discoloured as we age. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to remove tooth stains. Professional teeth whitening treatments are an effective way to achieve a brighter smile, but over-the-counter products can also help lighten teeth. However, it’s essential to consult your dentist before starting any at-home whitening treatment, as some methods may not be safe for everyone.  

Can you remove stains permanently with teeth whitening? 

Yes, stains can be removed permanently with teeth whitening. However, it is essential to note that teeth whitening is not a one-time treatment. It is necessary to perform the treatment regularly to maintain the results. There are various teeth whitening methods available, such as in-office and at-home treatments. In-office treatments are more expensive but offer quicker results. At-home treatments are less costly but require more patience and time to achieve the desired results. The main active ingredient in teeth whitening products is hydrogen peroxide. This substance breaks down into water and oxygen, which bleaches the teeth and removes stains. There are different concentrations of hydrogen peroxide available in over-the-counter teeth whitening products. Higher concentrations are only available from dental professionals.

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