One of the things a lot of people crave is a brighter, whiter smile. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at the oral hygiene aisle of your local supermarket and count how many toothpastes and mouthwashes have the word ‘whitening’ splashed across the front of the packaging. This is mainly because a lot of our more modern vices (like coffee, cigarettes, tea and wine) can discolour our teeth, in some cases leaving us with a nasty yellow sheen, or in some just with a slightly duller white than we would like. And whitening toothpaste can only go so far to correct that!
The solution? Teeth whitening! Teeth whitening involved the use of certain chemicals (known as whitening agents) and specific light frequencies to break down the bonds holding the discoloured molecules in your teeth together, washing them away and leaving you with whiter teeth. You can go to a dentist for this treatment, or if you’re feeling motivated, you could try an at-home whitening kit. But there are a few things you should know before you make this very important choice.
What Are At-Home Whitening Kits?
At-home whitening kits come in all shapes and sizes. From strips you just apply to your teeth and use every day, to more industrial solutions for shorter-term use. These will usually come with a ‘tray’ that looks a bit like a retainer to go over your teeth, a small UV light and a set of syringes filled with whitening gel. To apply these you empty the syringe into the tray, put the tray into your mouth and over your teeth, and then put the light into your mouth and bite down on it. Turn the light on and leave it on for the time mentioned in the instructions, and then wash it all off.
At-home whitening kits can be bought online, or from pharmacies an even some supermarkets, and come in different strengths depending on the price. Strips might need to be used consistently for a long time to see any improvement, while whitening trays may work a bit quicker. The downside is that the trays aren’t custom made, so you might find they irritate your teeth and gums. You might also find that your teeth aren’t suitable for whitening, and you could end up with incredibly sensitive teeth afterwards! This is because many at home whitening kits bought online may contain dangerous substances that can not only can damage your teeth and gums permanently, but can also have some nasty effects on your long term health. Overall, it’s not a pleasant experience, and there are a lot of risks involved in whitening your teeth at home.
How Does Dentist Whitening Work?
When it comes to whitening, a dentist is probably your best bet. Dentists are professionals who know all about teeth, whitening and the risks around it. They will also know about you and your oral health history, so will be able to recommend a solution that will work for you.
Whitening in a dentist’s clinic will be similar to the trays you can buy yourself – with a few key differences. For one, the trays are made to fit your teeth exactly, which means you won’t get any irritation and you will get better coverage from the product. Second, because dentists are professionals and they can supervise the procedure, they can use a stronger bleaching solution to whiten your teeth, which will make it more effective and last longer. They can also use a variety of lights and heat sources to speed up the process, getting you the results you want quickly and safely. Alternatively, you can opt to have them make your custom-tray, and then give you a specialised whitening gel to apply at home over a period of 2-4 weeks.
Dentists are also able to offer a procedure called laser whitening, which is much more effective and can be done in around an hour. This process involved painting a bleaching product onto your teeth and then shining a light or laser onto them to activate it. You will need to be prepared to sit still for an hour, but the results are often best using this method. At Appledore we use the Philips Zoom professional teeth whitening system.
Which Is Right For You?
At the end of the day, it depends on you, your budget and the condition of your teeth. If your teeth and gums are in excellent condition, then you may want to try an at-home whitener first. If you find these don’t work, then you can always move onto a dentist. But if you have had dental issues in the past, have sensitive teeth, or just want the security of having a professional do it for you, then we would recommend having a dentist-based whitening.
It’s important to remember that if you want to have your teeth whitened by a professional, you will need to go to your dentist. While some beauty salons will offer teeth whitening services, it’s actually illegal for them to do so if there is no professional dentist present. Not only that, but beauty therapists usually don’t have the same understanding of the materials they are using, and what effects they could have on clients. For example, common teeth whitening materials used by beauty therapists are sodium perborate and chlorine dioxide. A professional dentist would tell you never to use these ingredients, as sodium perborate has been known to damage the reproductive system, and chlorine dioxide will strip the enamel off your teeth as it works. In short, having your teeth whitening done in a beauty salon could put your oral health at risk, and that risk is never worth it. If you want whiter teeth, go the safe route and talk to your dentist.
At Appledore, we offer a range of teeth whitening services from our clinic in Milton Keynes. We are your local leader in smile technology, and specialise in providing stress-free, high-quality cosmetic dentistry to all ages. If you have any questions, or would like to book your smile consultation, just get in touch with the team today.