If you are looking to brighten up your smile but are new to the world of teeth whitening you should know that there are a multitude of options ranging from very cheap to pretty expensive. As you can imagine, this can be confusing for someone looking into how to whiten teeth safely for the first time, while still achieving the desired results.
If it already sounds like a real headache, don’t worry because we have your back!
In this post, we’re going to dive into the world of teeth whitening and give you the lowdown on the important things you need to consider before taking the plunge. Let’s take a closer look…
Choosing the right product
Put in a simple Google search for ‘teeth whitening treatments’ and it’s likely to return a plethora of over-the-counter options. These are whitening treatments that you can buy from your local pharmacy, store or online and include items like teeth whitening toothpaste and whitening strips, through to gels, pens and even hi-tech laser kits.
When it comes to cost, products can range from a few dollars for a good whitening toothpaste through to several hundred dollars or more for a hi-tech teeth whitening kit.
Here are some things you need to bear in mind…
Pay close attention to the ingredients
For a product to be able to whiten or brighten teeth it needs to contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (a hydrogen peroxide H202 derivative). Whitening toothpaste, for example, primarily contains bicarbonate of soda which is an abrasive rather than a whitening agent. So while it may remove a few surface stains, it won’t remove any ingrained teeth staining and/or whiten teeth.
If you want to know how to whiten teeth safely using over the counter products you’ll need to ensure that they contain no more than 6% hydrogen peroxide or 18% carbamide peroxide. Anything over this and it can’t legally be sold here in Australia. Moreover, it could be dangerous to use without professional supervision.
Also, on the flip side of that, be mindful that some over-the-counter products contain very low quantities of hydrogen peroxide so no amount of use is likely to achieve the degree of teeth whitening you want. So look for a product that contains quantities of bleaching agent around the 5-6% mark.
Consider the product itself
Another factor you should take into account when buying teeth whitening treatment is the product itself.
Products like teeth whitening pens or mouthwashes aren’t proven to be effective at removing ingrained staining. Whitening pens, for example, might be okay if you have very mild staining or discolouration but if you have more moderate staining then it’s unlikely to give you the results you want.
On the other end of the scale, if you are looking for a teeth whitening product that you use occasionally, then you may want to consider LED whitening kits. They aren’t cheap but they can be effective. The LED light used in the ‘whitening process’ is quite safe so long as it’s used infrequently.
If used too often, they can cause heightened tooth sensitivity, gingival irritation and tooth enamel damage in some patients, so this is something you really should be aware of.
For best results, if you are considering an over-the-counter whitening product, you may want to consider a combination of good quality teeth whitening strips and an LED whitening kit for that occasional white smile boost. Oh, and always follow the product guidelines because any overuse or misuse may cause problems.
What about the condition of your teeth?
If you want to know how to whiten teeth safely then you have to consider the current condition of your teeth. Remember any over-the-counter teeth whitening products you use at home may cause discomfort or sensitivity if you don’t have healthy teeth.
Having the odd cavity or traces of gum disease might not show any changes in discomfort under normal circumstances. However, once a teeth whitening product is applied it can be a whole different story with the affected area becoming very sensitive or painful.
And the most effective and safest method is…
Perhaps the safest and most effective way of whitening teeth is to talk to your dentist. Here at Beyond 32 Dental, for example, we offer patients both in-chair and take-home teeth whitening treatments but only after giving you a thorough dental examination. This way we can ensure that any whitening treatment is minimally invasive and above all, safe and comfortable for patients.
Interestingly, dentists are the only people allowed to supply teeth whitening products with hydrogen peroxide levels above 6%. This is because all treatments are closely monitored for your safety.
Ultimately, this means that results are achieved in less time. Chair-side professional whitening, for example, takes as little as one hour to achieve a noticeable difference, while take-home treatments typically achieve similar results in 7-10 days.
The key takeaway
If you are new to teeth whitening and want to know how to whiten teeth safely, then it pays to have an honest conversation with your dentist. They can point you in the right direction and suggest the best whitening treatment that meets your needs.
If you would like to find out more about how professional teeth whitening can help you, book a consultation with the team at Beyond 32 Dental or call us at (02) 9158 6334 today!