Most cosmetic dental practices offer a combination of immediate, in-surgery teeth whitening and professional take home tooth whitening kits with custom-made trays.
Both procedures are based on a bleaching process that uses a peroxide-based compound of varying strength (3%-30% peroxide). The higher the concentration of peroxide in the compound, the more powerful the bleaching compound is. While this makes it more effective at whitening the teeth, it also has greater potential to cause damage to the surrounding gum tissue and your lips.
- Before tooth whitening
- After tooth whitening
- Protection during whitening
It is very important that your dentist isolates your gums and lips with a protective material in order to avoid any potential damage or burning of your soft tissue. Home whitening kits usually have a low concentration of peroxide so that there is less chance of any damage occurring. Recently, high-strength home whitening kits purchased online and from certain stores have attracted media attention with horror stories of people with badly burnt lips and gums. It’s for this reason that teeth whitening is a procedure that should always be carried out under the supervision of a dentist.
Home teeth whitening kits
Take home whitening kits provide more permanent results over a longer time scale, whereas laser whitening offers immediate results. A combination of the two provides the perfect solution to both immediate and long-term whitening needs.
How much whiter will my teeth look?
This varies from individual to individual, and also depends on the type of whitening system used. Some people respond very well to teeth whitening and have dramatically whiter teeth as a result, whereas others may notice very little difference at all. Your dentist will be able to advise you on the likely results given your teeth.
Does it hurt? What are the side effects of teeth whitening?
Some people experience no pain or sensitivity with their teeth. However, the majority of people will experience some kind of sensitivity either during and or after the initial treatment. This is usually described by patients as sporadic, sharp shooting pains coming from their teeth. This should settle down after approximately 48 hours though. Your dentist may give you a special gel or mousse to apply to your teeth to help with the sensitivity. It is advisable to avoid hot or cold food and drinks within the first 48 hours of your whitening treatment.
Which Teeth Whitening brand or system is the best?
There are many different brands of professional teeth whitening systems, each claiming to provide the best results. The most popular systems are Zoom teeth whitening!, as featured on Extreme Makeover, Opalescence , BriteSmile® and the latest Enlighten system. Each system has its pros and cons, and your dentist will be able to advise you on which system would be best suited for your teeth.