If you are looking for a way to brighten your smile, then bleaching is a fabulous, non invasive option to try!
There are two main options when it comes to professional tooth whitening. The first is In-Chair, and the second is At Home. The final results can be similar if all the steps are followed correctly!
It is important to consider that how effective the bleach treatment works is largely dependent on the strength (concentration) of the product, and the time it is on your teeth. You can think of it in the same way as if you were to try and remove a stain from fabric - the most effective outcome is going to arise from putting the right type of bleach (not too strong, not too weak, not too thin and watery, not too thick or powdery), on for the right amount of time (not too short, not too long), and in the right conditions (bleach works best when it's in the light)! See why Zoom! is the best bleach for your teeth!
For people who don't want to muck around! This bleaching procedure takes place in the dental chair, and start to finish takes abut 90 minutes. When you walk out your teeth are nice and white!
You leave to go home with custom whitening trays and bleach gel to keep up your white maintenance at home. You also get some desensitising gel to use as you need it.
Zoom! is a wonderful product and has nailed all three of the factors (type, time and conditions) listed above that we want in a bleach. It is the best currently available on the market .
Check out our Dentista video on Zoom! bleaching.
Custom Tray Whitening
At home bleaching requires you to apply bleach to custom fitted trays every day for two weeks, sometimes longer.
Depending on what is best for you, we may suggest a lower concentration of bleach to wear overnight, or a slightly higher concentration that you only wear for 30 minutes a day.
I want to bleach my teeth! How do I prepare?
To get the most out of your bleaching, we recommend you prepare your teeth with twice daily application of Tooth Mousse. This helps your whitening experiencing by;
reducing sensitivity during and after your bleaching
keeping your teeth looking whiter for longer!
Tooth Mousse is a milk based product that has the main building blocks of your teeth, fluoride, calcium and phosphate, is a very available form or your teeth to suck up. To apply, after your brush your teeth you put a pea sized amount on your finger, and smear it around your teeth with your tongue. Check out the brochure from the Tooth Mousse GC website here.
Once you have finished bleaching, we encourage you to continue using Tooth Mousse for a few weeks afterwards to enhance the brightness!
You can purchase Tooth Mousse from us in the clinic!
Can I still eat and drink after bleaching?
What are the side effects of bleaching?
Yes! You are able to eat and drink straight after your bleaching procedure. The current recommendation is to wait 2 hours before consuming any foods that would stain a white T-shirt. For example, it is best to avoid red wine, tea, coffee, turmeric, beetroot, red sauce etc. for 2 hours.
Dental Sensitivity to cold is the most common side effect after bleaching. The sensitivity can occur during the bleaching procedure (known as 'zingers!'), and last a few days afterwards.
To reduce the chance of sensitivity we recommend the application of Tooth Mousse for 2 weeks prior to bleaching, and then to continue for a few weeks afterwards as well. If you have Zoom! In-Chair whitening, you also receive Zoom! desensitising gel to apply as you need it. Desensitising toothpastes such as Sensodyne and Colgate Sensitive may also be of benefit.
How long does the bleaching last?
It depends! Most people get a good 4-6 months out of their bleaching. The darker your teeth were to begin with, the more frequently you may need to repeat the bleaching procedure. Also, the more 'staining' foods you consume the quicker external stains will begin to deposit on the outside of you teeth.
In-chair bleaching should be performed no more than every six months. At-home bleaching can be 'refreshed' for a few days every few months if required.
What about whitening toothpaste, mouthwash and over the counter strips?
As mentioned above, the keys to bleaching lie in several key factors. Of those, strength of bleach, time it's in contact with your teeth, and consistency of the bleach (and therefore how intimately it can contact your teeth) are the main determinants of how effective your bleaching is going to be.
Strength: the concentration available to purchase over the counter is very weak. In Australia, the bleach a dentist is able to prescribe you is stronger, and therefore more effective. In addition, if it is whitening toothpaste the amount of product you place in your mouth is very small to begin with, the concentration is very low, and then you further dilute it with saliva and water.
Time: Toothpaste and mouthwash are only only your teeth for a few minutes. While the product and linger for a while afterwards, it is not in sufficient concentration to be effective
Consistency: for the bleach to work on your teeth a gel is most effective.
The unfortunate part about whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes is that they're often more expensive, and don't actually do what they're supposed to. In addition, the toothpastes are usually more abrasive which is actually worse for keeping your teeth white! The more abrasive the toothpaste is, the more likely it is to abrade away, or thin out our enamel. As you can see in the photo below, the enamel is what gives the tooth its white colour. The thinner the enamel, the more yellow shines through from the inner, yellower layer of the tooth, called the dentine. You want to protect and preserve your enamel at all costs!
What about alternative at home bleach remedies?
I love home remedies! BUT a lot of the home remedies for teeth whitening floating around advise the use of lemon juice and some sort of abrasive to scrub your teeth! No no! Lemon juice is highly acidic, which erodes and strips out enamel. Additionally, the acid softens the enamel of our teeth, so to then scrub with an abrasive thins out the enamel even more! As you can see in the photo above, we want to protect and preserve our enamel!! Any 'whitening' result from these acid home remedies is very short lived and can actually damage your teeth and make them appear yellower than before! Do not use any chemical that is not specifically designed for teeth bleaching. See here the damage that can be caused from using a household cleaning product like Gumption here.
Another big no no is charcoal! Charcoal is too abrasive!!! While initially it may remove any surface stains (which can be removed a lot more gently by having a scale and clean with our ultra fine Airflow powder) long term use of charcoal will thin your enamel, which we know is super important to protect and preserve!
Coconut oil is another common home remedy. While there is no 'bleaching' effect of coconut oil, it ill not damage your teeth and is otherwise safe to use.
When Bleaching isn't the whole answer
Sometimes bleaching isn't the whole answer! If you have existing fillings, crowns, veneers, bridges or a plate, these will not bleach. Also, if your teeth have a grey colour to them, or have been traumatised this is also difficult to correct with bleaching. Sometimes bleaching is only part of the story, and if the bleaching doesn't work or is not suitable, then another Cosmetic option, like Veneers or Crowns might be better for you.