There’s no denying that teeth whitening is big business. With an increased demand for people to continually look their best, it’s estimated that cosmetic whitening procedures will have an annual turnover of $7.4 billion by 2024. The problem is that there is a lot of contrasting information leading to a great deal of confusion surrounding treatments. So here at Dental 266, we’re on a mission to explain the facts and debunk the myths so that our patients are able to make an informed dental decision. With this in mind, let’s get started…
Myth 1 – Teeth whitening can ruin teeth
A popular myth doing the rounds is that whitening teeth can ruin the protective enamel but is this a misconception?
In all fairness, if you buy an unlicensed and unregulated whitening product, then there is a risk that it could cause damage to teeth and gums including a weakening of the protective enamel of the tooth. The same may be said in extreme cases where a person has overused a licenced over-the-counter product.
However, if you opt for a chairside cosmetic whitening procedure at your local dental practice or purchase a take-home whitening kit directly from your dentist then your teeth will be safe. This is despite the fact that higher strengths of bleaching agent are typically used.
So why is this?
Quite simply because all procedures are carefully controlled by a dental professional. Chairside teeth whitening, for example, is a carefully monitored process where any whitening is done in gradual stages. Take-home kits are custom-made and come complete with an individualised treatment plan and guidelines for the best effect. Follow these instructions and your smile will be as healthy as it was before any treatment commenced.
Myth 2 – Teeth whitening is a painful process
Teeth whitening will only usually cause discomfort when applied to teeth which are already very sensitive. This may be a problem if you buy over-the-counter whitening products and misuse them; or seek out cosmetic whitening treatment at your local beauty spa, as most procedures won’t be dentally controlled.
Alternatively, before you undergo an in-office chair-side teeth whitening treatment you can expect a dental examination first to ensure that you are a good candidate. If you do have sensitive teeth there are things a dentist can do first to treat the source of sensitivity. Such as:
- Fill any cavities
- Repair any tooth cracks or
- Adjust any tooth fillings if they are too high
They can also give you a toothpaste to use for sensitive teeth.
Once the sensitivity issue has been dealt with, then you should be able to proceed with teeth whitening treatment as per normal.
Myth 3 – teeth whitening will deliver a picture-perfect smile
In some cases, this may be true, but this is only in people with teeth that respond well to the treatment. The problem is that every smile is different and some people naturally have less white teeth than others. Therefore not everyone is starting their whitening journey on the same page.
How teeth whitening works is that typically, teeth can only be whitened according to the maximum shade changes detailed by that product. So while 4-8 shades lighter may deliver a pearly white smile for some, others will have a definitively improved smile but not necessarily the sparkling ‘Hollywood’ version.
If you do have stubborn teeth that simply won’t whiten as much as you’d like, then your dentist may recommend other cosmetic dental treatments like porcelain veneers instead.
Myth 4 – Professional teeth whitening removes all staining
While chair-side cosmetic whitening treatments have the ability to tackle many types of external (extrinsic) staining, there are types of staining or yellowing that no amount of teeth bleaching gel will shift. For example, is you have deeply ingrained (intrinsic) staining then the whitening procedure may be able to lift some but not all staining. In addition, as we age our tooth enamel starts to thin and over time the yellow layer of dentin beneath will start to show through. As a result, the teeth will take on a slightly greyish hue. Again cosmetic teeth whitening will not make them appear whiter.
Myth 5 – Over the counter products are equally as good as professional teeth whitening
Go into any chemist or local store and you’ll probably notice a multitude of DIY teeth whitening products. These range from strips and gels, to pens and toothpaste. However, while they may be effective to a certain degree, they will never be as effective as professional chairside teeth whitening.
So why is this?
It’s all to do with the bleaching agent content (hydrogen peroxide). By law over the counter whitening kits are only allowed to be sold if they contain no more than 6% hydrogen peroxide or 18% carbamide peroxide. Conversely, dentist controlled whitening treatments such as laser teeth whitening are legally allowed to contain much higher levels of bleaching agent typically between 30% and 35%. This means that professional teeth whitening treatments have the ability to penetrate the teeth and lift most staining, where OTC products simply can’t. This in effect is how teeth whitening works!
To make sure you get all your teeth whitening facts right, contact the team at Dental 266. Book a consultation today and let us show you how we can help you to get the smile you really want. Call us at (02) 9051 0600.