Teeth whitening is the process of restoring you teeth’s natural shade. It is not the same as teeth bleaching, which is the process of whitening the teeth beyond their natural shade.
How long the effects last will depend on a number of factors, including what has caused the teeth to discolour in the first place, which whitening treatment you choose, and your maintenance routine post-treatment.
What causes teeth to discolour?
Unfortunately, many of life’s indulgences are not conducive to maintaining our teeth’s natural whiteness; rich food and drink (such as berries, red wine, tea and coffee) may cause discolouration. Perhaps unsurprisingly, smoking can also be added to this list.
Other causes of discolouration can include antibiotic medication (particularly tetracyclines) and the presence of medical conditions such as fluorosis. As a general rule, most people’s teeth will naturally become more opaque with age.
Your dentist can identify the cause or causes of discolouration in your individual case. Not only will this help you choose the right treatment, but avoidance of causal factors (especially immediately after teeth whitening) will help the treatment to last longer.
Which teeth whitening treatment is best for you?
Teeth whitening products can be obtained in one of two ways:
- from pharmacies, or
- from a dentist, who will either perform in-chair whitening or instruct you on the at-home whitening process.
At Core Dental, we offer an in-chair whitening procedure known as Zoom! Whitening, which is a form of light accelerated bleaching supplied by Phillips Oral Healthcare. The treatment involves the application of a light-cured protective layer to the gums and soft tissue, followed by application of a bleaching agent, which is activated using an LED light. According to philips.com.au, Zoom! is “clinically proven to whiten teeth up to 8 shades in 45 minutes” and its LED technology “is 40% more effective than non-light activated systems”.
For whitening teeth at home, we can provide a kit that includes custom-made trays (moulded to your teeth) and whitening gel. The treatment involves applying the whitening gel to your teeth via the trays, which are kept in place for up to 20 minutes per day, generally for about 2 to 3 weeks. Because this procedure can result in sensitivity of the teeth, a desensitising gel is also provided – to use as required.
How to maintain whiter teeth
In practice, a combination of the above two treatments will generally yield the best results. Zoom! in-chair whitening should give you significantly whiter teeth in one visit, but these results will diminish over time. The use of home whitening for 2 to 3 weeks every 3 to 6 months can be an excellent way of maintaining results long-term.
At Core Dental, we can assess the cause of your discolouration, advise which treatment(s) will be safe and effective and, of course, provide the right post-treatment advice to ensure your teeth whitening results last as long as possible.