For people who want a brilliantly white smile, there are many teeth whitening options available. But it is crucial to research how safe is teeth whitening for your unique smile and which option is best for you.
What Causes Tooth Discolouration?
There are a variety of causes of tooth discolouration that can affect which type of teeth whitening treatment is the most effective and safe to use.
Tooth discolouration can be extrinsic, which means that the stains are only on the surface of the tooth, or intrinsic when stains occur inside the tooth. Extrinsic staining is caused by poor oral hygiene, pigmented food and beverages, and smoking. Intrinsic stains are caused by some medications, age, illness or trauma.
Types of Teeth Whitening
If you are wondering is teeth whitening safe, you need to know that different types of teeth whitening products offer varying levels of effectiveness for removing stains.
Whitening toothpaste is safe and can help remove very mild surface staining if used consistently over a prolonged period. However, they usually contain abrasive compounds which can cause tooth sensitivity and gum damage if used incorrectly and they can erode enamel if used by people with excessive acid wear.
More recently, other types of whitening toothpaste and products containing activated charcoal have come on the market. However, while charcoal is a safe product, the effectiveness of charcoal for removing stains from teeth has not yet been proven.
Over the Counter At-Home Whitening Kits
At-home bleaching kits have become a popular budget alternative to professional teeth cleaning; however, some are more safe and effective than others. At-home bleaching kits can help remove surface staining. However, the problem that arises with do-it-yourself bleaching kits is whether the bleaching gel is safe to be used without professional supervision.
Overuse of peroxide based at-home bleaching kits and whitening strips can cause tooth sensitivity, and many of these kits do not offer protection for gums which can lead to gum irritation and damage.
If you are interested in a safe at-home teeth whitening kit, consult a dental professional from Scott Street Dental. We offer an at-home version of the Philips Zoom! Teeth Whitening treatment, which we encourage our patients to use between visits to maintain their bright smile.
The at-home Zoom! Teeth Whitening kit contains low concentration safe hydrogen peroxide gel and bleaching trays that are moulded to fit the shape of your teeth to prevent the bleaching products from touching your gums. While this may take longer than professional treatment to whiten your teeth, it is a much safer option than many over-the-counter teeth whitening kits.
Zoom! Professional Teeth Whitening
The safest teeth whitening option is professional teeth whitening treatment in our practice. At Scott Street Dental, we use Philips Zoom! Teeth Whitening treatment which has been proven clinically effective for removing stains and drastically whitening teeth. The bleaching agent used in the gel is hydrogen peroxide which has been deemed safe for use up to a concentration of 6%. The bleaching gel is activated by a UV light to accelerate the whitening process.
To protect your gums from irritation by the bleaching gel, your dentist will apply a special shield which prevents contact between your gums and the gel. Zoom! Teeth Whitening gel also contains a special compound to reduce tooth sensitivity by remineralising the tooth enamel and closing the tubules which lead to the sensitive dentin inside the tooth.
The process is safe to repeat multiple times during a single session to achieve the shade to want in less time than at-home whitening kits. Professional teeth whitening treatments also last up to 24 months, significantly longer than at-home bleaching kits which often need to be repeated after two months. This can save you money over the long term as you will not need to purchase additional at-home whitening kits.
Maintaining Your Bright Smile
After teeth whitening treatment, you need to take some precautions to ensure the effects are long-lasting.
Avoid dark coloured food and beverages such as coffee, red wine and berries since your tooth enamel is porous and will become stained again.
If you are a smoker, it is recommended that you quit not only to protect your oral health and prevent staining, tooth decay and gum disease but to also benefit your overall health and well-being.
While many products can be used to whiten teeth, professional teeth whitening uses safe products and techniques that have been proven effective for a long lasting bright and healthy smile.
For anyone wondering is teeth whitening safe, talk to one of our experienced staff at Scott Street Dental on (02) 9158 6313 to discuss our teeth whitening options and how we can help you achieve a beautiful smile.