Teeth Whitening is one of the most common aesthetic requests that patients have.
Generally, most people think of whitening as simple bleaching of teeth but how teeth need to be whitened depends on the cause of the staining.
Stains are either:
Root Canal therapy stains
Today I will talk about Internal Stains
Internal staining is when the normal pigments in our daily food, penetrate deeper into the tooth. Teeth are slightly porous and over time stains penetrate deeper into the enamel.
To whiten teeth with internal staining requires a bleaching process.
Bleaching teeth is very simple. Like anything, how good the results are depends on how well it was done.
To bleach teeth, you need to hold some form of peroxide against the teeth for a period of time without it being diluted. This is the difficult part in your mouth because the mouth is full of saliva. Anything we taste or feel in the mouth makes our saliva flow faster.
If you were to just paint the peroxide gel on your teeth, it would not work because the saliva will wash it away.
The cheapest way to do bleach whitening of teeth is to go to the chemist and buy one of their over the counter kits. Unfortunately, because these don’t come with a pressure forming machine or accurate plaster casts, they don’t usually fit tightly enough, so the gel will only be on your teeth for a few minutes before the saliva starts diluting and washing the gel away.
We don’t sell these kits because they don’t really work.
The best way to whiten teeth is with a custom made whitening tray.
These take a lot of effort to get precise enough to get good results.
Firstly, a very accurate impression of the teeth must be taken. Then a plaster cast is made of the patient’s teeth. Finally, a sheet of plastic is melted and vacuum formed to the shape of the patient’s teeth.
This forms a very accurate tray that acts like a reservoir to hold the whitening gel. Now the saliva cannot wash away or dilute the bleaching gel and it will sit against the teeth for as long as required.
This is called take home whitening and it is by far the most effective.
The best thing about bleaching teeth is that it is non invasive and relatively cheap.
The last form of whitening is in office whitening with or without a laser or light. We no longer do this because it is not that effective. Most of the whitening that occurs is just the teeth drying out. Therefore, mostly when you get in office whitening, you also get a take home kit too. The drying out effect from in office whitening wears off in a couple of days.
When you are pregnant your gums are particularly sensitive and easily inflamed due to the elevated hormones, therefore, it’s probably best to avoid whitening during this time.
You cannot have whitening of your teeth if there are deep cavities. The peroxide will get into the cavity and make the tooth very sore or even cause severe toothache requiring root canal therapy.
Some people are not able to whiten their teeth with peroxide bleach because they have really sensitive teeth to start with. Peroxide makes your teeth more sensitive.
Not all colours of teeth will bleach. Grey shades and red shades do not bleach as well as yellow ones do.
You need to touch up the bleaching up every six to twelve months. The whitening/bleaching effect will slowly fade over a few years.
If you have dental work in your front teeth the dental work will not change colour. This means that the teeth will get lighter, the dental work will look darker. Or as the teeth fade again, the dental work will look lighter.
In some cases, it is better to do veneers rather than risk the teeth constantly changing colour all the time.
Any dental work that is in the teeth before whitening will need to be redone once the teeth whiten as it will no longer match the colour.
Whitening is about $500 – $750 depending on how it is done. Your health fund will pay nothing toward Teeth Whitening. You can find out more about teeth whitening here or give the Harris Dental team a call on 07 4158 5813 to make an appointment.