Teeth Whitening

What is teeth whitening?

It can be confusing to know the difference between cleaning your teeth and whitening your teeth. Cleaning your teeth is much like cleaning your clothes. Tartar, stains, and plaque are removed in a scale and clean. This will improve the appearance of your teeth but does not alter the inherent colour or shade of your teeth.

Teeth whitening is similar to bleaching your clothes. It chemically breaks down the pigments inside your tooth. The active ingredient in whitening gels is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Carbamide peroxide reacts with water and forms hydrogen peroxide.

Is teeth whitening suitable for you?

In order to determine whether teeth whitening is the best option for you, a thorough dental examination is required first. An examination will enable us to determine underlying dental problems or reasons for teeth discolouration that may need to be addressed first.

Results vary from person to person depending on each individual’s tooth structure. This will be assessed by the dentist on the pre-whitening examination.

If you suffer from teeth or gum sensitivity, our dentists may recommend the use of a de-sensitising paste for a couple of weeks before whitening and for a couple of weeks after the treatment.

Are there side-effects to whitening?

The most common side effect of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity which can last multiple days in some cases. Normally this can be resolved with a suitable pain medication. There have been a small percentage of cases exhibiting irreversible pulpal damage.

Post-treatment desensitising methods include the use of special gels or toothpastes for sensitive teeth. By and large, patients should experience minimal pain or discomfort during the in-chair laser whitening procedure.

Is in-chair teeth whitening safe?

Extensive studies have been conducted to conclude whether teeth whitening is a safe cosmetic option. All evidence points to ‘Yes’, it is safe to undertake teeth whitening under your dentist’s supervision.

Does teeth whitening damage Enamel?

The conclusive answer is no, teeth whitening gel will not damage or harm your tooth enamel. Enamel is considered the hardest tissue in the human body. Enamel consists of tiny tubules that can only be viewed under high magnification. Even though Enamel is the outermost layer of the tooth, it is the layer of tissue beneath the enamel that absorbs the majority of the stain, called dentin. In order to achieve successful whitening, the product flows through the enamel tubules and begins to lighten the underlying stained tissue.

Is teeth whitening safe during pregnancy?

Teeth whitening can be performed while you’re pregnant, but we recommend waiting until after the birth for most non-emergency dental treatments.

Teeth whitening and other cosmetic treatments should ideally be avoided during the third trimester in particular, as you may find it uncomfortable to lie still while the whitening gel is applied and cured.

If you’re using a home teeth whitening kit, you should make sure that you check that the concentration of hydrogen peroxide is no more than six percent. Higher concentrations can potentially cause tissue damage unless applied by a professional.

Is teeth whitening safe while breastfeeding or during fertility treatment?

The answer to this is somewhat of a toss-up. No studies have been done to determine the safety of teeth whitening while breastfeeding or during fertility treatment. Some dental and medical professionals will suggest that mothers who are breastfeeding wait until after they are no longer breastfeeding to whiten their teeth. Many dental and medical professionals, however, say it’s OK to whiten teeth while breastfeeding. One reason many clinicians feel this way is because the peroxide (the active ingredient in the teeth whitening agent) would likely be at an undetectable level in the mother’s milk by the time it had worked its way through the body’s natural filtering systems. This is due to the low percentage of peroxide in the teeth whitening agent and also the fact that the body naturally produces peroxide.

If you’re wondering whether you should whiten your teeth during fertility treatments, or breastfeeding, here’s the general consensus: women should consult with their ob-gyn.