If your pearly whites are looking a little more like fifty shades of grey, or yellow, don’t lose heart. At Smile Solutions we can offer you several options to help you achieve a whiter, brighter, more beautiful smile. Before we delve into these options, let’s talk about DIY teeth whitening.
Off-the shelf teeth whitening
Let’s face it, we’ve all been sucked in by nifty infomercials and ads for DIY home teeth whitening. It may be sheer gullibility (or vanity) on my part, but I can speak from experience when I say I have probably tried out every home teeth whitening product on the market! From whitening toothpaste to pens, the results I obtained, although sometimes detectable, were often limited and transient. A myriad of studies have demonstrated that DIY home teeth whitening products, through their low concentration of peroxides and their abrasive particle compositions, may have some effect for patients with heavy superficial staining from smoking or coffee but generally they don’t achieve any significant change to the base shade of the teeth.
The reason is simple: most DIY home teeth whitening products are forbidden, by law, to administer a high strength of peroxide, so the whitening potency of these gels is necessarily limited. Also, these products wash off or are diluted by saliva or water, thus reducing essential contact time with your teeth. You will gain minty fresh breath but very limited alteration to your tooth colour!
So how can you get around this? Quite simply, speak to your dentist!
Why go to the dentist for teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening supervised or performed by a dentist is increasingly popular, effective, affordable and (most importantly) safe. The products used are of a significantly higher strength and are designed to maximise contact with your teeth.
Your starting point is to raise the topic with your dentist and we’ll guide you from there. Once your teeth have been thoroughly examined and cleaned, the choice of which whitening approach to take depends on the causes of your teeth staining (e.g. smoking, or antibiotic staining), your time-frame for achieving results, and your budget. The choices we offer at Smile Solutions are twofold: dentist-supervised at-home whitening and in-chair whitening.
Supervised at home whitening
The at-home bleaching process begins with your dentist taking moulds of your upper and lower teeth to make CUSTOM-fitted bleaching trays for you. Once you have received the trays, the procedure is very simple. Either on a daily or nightly basis you will need to wear your trays containing the appropriate whitening gel, as provided by your dentist. The duration of wear can range from one hour per day (while you watch TV or read) to overnight (while you sleep). This procedure is repeated daily or nightly for a few weeks.
Home teeth whitening has many advantages. It places the control in your hands, allowing you to dictate how ‘white’ your teeth become before you move on to the maintenance phase. As your maintenance system, it allows you to touch up the whiteness of your teeth. And finally it allows more ‘sensitive’ patients to tailor their whitening procedure to their comfort.
An alternative to at-home whitening is in-chair whitening, performed at the dentist. In-chair whitening is also known as professional whitening or power bleaching. It typically involves the use of a high-strength peroxide activated by a gentle ‘blue spectrum’ light.
At Smile Solutions, we can offer you two power bleaching options: Zoom teeth whitening, the most popular in-chair whitening procedure in the world; and Brite Smile, the market leader for sensitive teeth for over a decade. Both procedures are carried out in a single visit, suitable for our time-poor and busy patients. The results of the power bleaching procedures can be enhanced and maintained in conjunction with at-home whitening or through annual or bi-annual visits to the dentist.