Teeth whitening

Teeth whitening has become one of the most popular dental treatments due to its ability to improve the look of a smile, in a quick and affordable manner. With your smile often being the first thing someone notices about you, many want to avoid having discoloured, yellow teeth. However even with good oral hygiene and regular dental appointments, some people still experience teeth discolouration. This is often due to aging or lifestyle factors such as diet or smoking. At HR Hocking Dental Surgery, we offer take-home whitening treatments to help transform our patient’s smiles and keep them whiter.

What is the process?

Take-home teeth whitening is a convenient treatment that can be done in the comfort of your own home. The process involves two appointments. During your first appointment, you will visit HR Hocking Dental Surgery for an initial consultation. Your dentist will determine if you are a suitable candidate for teeth whitening and take impressions of your teeth, for your whitening trays. You will then return to our Riverwood practice the following week to collect your trays and whitening solution.

From here, the teeth whitening kit should be worn to bed, every night for two weeks.

How long will the results last?

Patient results vary, however, most will find that their teeth remain whiter for one to three years. This can also be prolonged by visiting HR Hocking Dental Surgery every one to two years for touch ups.

Lifestyle factors will also affect the longevity of your newly whitened teeth. Here are some tips to keep them whiter for longer:

  • For the first few days following the treatment your teeth will be slightly more porous making them more susceptible to stains, therefore, we recommend that patients alter their diet and avoid stain prone food and drinks such as tea, coffee, cola, red wine, berries, curry and beetroot.
  • We follow the rule ‘if it will stain your shirt, it will stain your teeth’. It is also suggested that you avoid highly acidic foods (lemons, oranges, vinegar) during the teeth whitening process and for a short time following. Acidic foods can make your teeth more prone to sensitivity.
  • After the first few days, you can return to normal eating, however, we still recommend reducing your intake of soft drinks, red wine, coffee, beetroot, berries and any other foods and drinks that are quite dark in colour.
  • Consume foods such as apples, carrots and hard cheese, as these foods produce more saliva and will gently scrub your teeth while you chew.
  • When drinking anything other than water, it is recommended that you use a straw to reduce the contact between your teeth and the liquid.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating to help remove food particles. While it is great to brush after each meal, it is recommended that you don’t do it for at least 30 minutes after eating, as you may damage the softened tooth enamel.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing each day and visiting HR Hocking Dental Surgery for regular check-ups and cleans.
  • Avoid smoking.

Is teeth whitening for everyone?

Unfortunately no. Not all patients are suitable candidates for teeth whitening. Here is a list of the types of patients who are often unsuitable for treatment:

  • Those with extensive periodontal disease
  • Those with decayed, chipped or broken teeth will not be eligible however if these issues are treated then teeth whitening may become an option.
  • Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Those with veneers, crowns, bridges or artificial teeth. The whitening treatment will only work on natural teeth. As a result, all existing artificial restorations will need to be replaced which would incur an additional cost and may not be a viable or safe option as it may negatively affect the remaining natural tooth.
  • Those with relatively white teeth. If your teeth are already quite light then your dentist may recommend that you do not undergo treatment as you may not experience dramatic results.

Are there any side effects?

While teeth whitening is a safe procedure, like all dental treatments there may be some side effects. These side-effects include:

  • Tooth sensitivity: After treatment you may experience some tooth sensitivity. This will normally go away on its own after 24-48 hours, however, using a sensitive toothpaste may help.
  • Inflammation: If whitening trays are overfilled there is a risk that the solution will leak onto the gums or tongue, which may result in inflammation or white spots.

What is the difference between professional teeth whitening and pharmacy whitening kits?

While whitening kits are readily available from supermarkets and pharmacies, they are not as effective as the treatment you receive at the dentist. Over the counter whitening kits use a lower concentration of whitening bleach, meaning that the results are not as effective or take a lot longer to achieve. The trays that you receive in these kits are often  'one size fits all', which makes them quite uncomfortable to wear and can result in solution leaking onto the gums and tongue.

Another reason to visit your dentist for treatment is so that they can assess your teeth to make sure that you are a suitable candidate. This will help to ensure that you do not damage your teeth or lose time and incur expense on over the counter treatment that may not make a difference.

If you are looking to brighten and whiten your smile, or to find our more, please call our team on 9534 3481.