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Top 9 Teeth Whitening Myths Busted and Common Questions Answered

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Myth 1: Teeth whitening erodes tooth enamel.

This is not generally true! Professional tooth whitening product producers typically employ Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide as active components in their tooth whitening gels. The chemical Hydrogen Peroxide (HO) is a bleaching agent that, during the chemical reaction, transforms to water (HO) and releases an oxygen molecule (O). Water and oxygen are both frequent and safe components of our daily life.

The oxygen particles dislodge staining particles by penetrating the rough surface of your teeth (although though it appears smooth, it has microscopically rough, rod-like crystal structures). I prefer to illustrate this by picturing TV commercials that demonstrate how a clothes washing powder with oxygen lifts stains from your clothing.

The “bleach” Hydrogen Peroxide is not the same as household bleach containing ammonia or other low-end, acid-based tooth whitening solutions, and it is safe to use in moderation. In reality, our bodies naturally create Hydrogen Peroxide!

Acidic compounds can erode your teeth’s enamel. Look for teeth whitening products that use Hydrogen Peroxide and are pH balanced, which means they have no or low acidity levels. To put acidity into context, regular Orange Juice has been proven in lab trials to weaken (and potentially disintegrate) tooth enamel several times more than a professional hydrogen peroxide-based teeth whitening treatment could if applied correctly.

Myth 2: Teeth Whitening Is Dangerous.

That is not correct! Cosmetic tooth bleaching with hydrogen peroxide has been used for over a century. When simple safety precautions are taken, most renowned dentistry bodies around the world endorse tooth bleaching as a usually safe technique. Any professional supplier of teeth whitening products will provide adequate guidelines for safe product use.

The safety vs. risk of tooth whitening is often centred on two key issues: gel exposure to the gums and soft tissue of the mouth or lips, and tooth sensitivity. Both can be reduced by using professional solutions and limiting the time the bleaching gel is in contact with the gums or teeth.

There are hazards, like with any cosmetic operation. Fortunately, any adverse effects reported with professional teeth whitening are only brief and do not last. As with most cosmetic surgeries, you may experience some discomfort in order to look better. This is sometimes referred to as “Vain Pain.”

Myth No. 3: All whitening gels are the same.

That is not correct! Carbamide Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide are the two major professional gel alternatives. Both create the same active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, however carbamide peroxide acts SLOWER on the teeth and is only suggested for use with an Accelerator Light (which I will discuss later) or nighttime use. Concentrations of carbamide peroxide include around one-third of the active component, hydrogen peroxide. For example, 35% Carbamide Peroxide is essentially equivalent to 12% Hydrogen Peroxide.

Hydrogen Peroxide is more expensive to generate since it is an unstable chemical that reacts quickly. As a result, several merchants solely sell Carbamide Peroxide-based goods. While the most complex and expensive to make, stabilised hydrogen peroxide reacts instantly on contact with the teeth and is best suited for short-term tooth whitening treatments without an accelerator light.

Myth 4: Teeth Whitening Accelerator Lights are ineffective.

This is not generally true! Except in a few instances. There are companies that solely provide take-home teeth whitening products, and other dentists who claim that LED lights and other accelerator lights are a gimmick that don’t work.

Many research have been undertaken that show that using a professional accelerator light does actually speed up the oxidisation (the release of oxygen and the chemical bleaching reaction) of tooth whitener gel. This is especially true for Carbamide Peroxide-based whitening gels, which respond chemically considerably slower.

Consider how many Dentists and Cosmetic Dentistry practises provide “in-office,” “chairside,” “rapid whitening,” or “Power Whitening” treatments. Quite a few of them! Why would they provide this treatment if the accelerator lights did not function? There is no doubt that professional quality Blue LED Accelerator lights offer a faster tooth whitening effect when utilising Carbamide Peroxide gel, based on my own expert experience. We are confident that there is a noticeable improvement with the light under these conditions based on our own studies and observations after working with hundreds of clients and comparing the results with the same gel, over the same time period, with and without the LED Accelerator Lamp.

However, not all Accelerator Lights are created equal. Some dentists still utilise older technology lamps such as Plasma, UV, and others. These technologies operate on a light spectrum that is known to produce heating or burning of skin tissue and heating of the tooth surface in order to release the oxygen in the gel; regrettably, this can also result in UV damage to your mouth, gums, and lips. There are also little handheld LED lights, which you may have seen in TV commercials; however, these are merely toys and lack sufficient power to have any effect.

Another situation in which an accelerator light does not work effectively is when the provider utilises a coloured mouth tray to hold the gel against the teeth, or if the tray is a “Silicone Impression” tray or a Pre-Filled Foam tray. Because these mouthguard trays do not enable light frequencies to flow through them, there are no rapid bleaching effects.

Modern, professional teeth whitening accelerator lamps all use LED light in the blue light spectrum at a specific frequency, which activates the chemical’s oxygen release and speeds up the tooth whitening process. Because they do not heat the teeth or surrounding tissue, they are commonly referred to as “Cool LED” or “cool” light accelerators. As a result, they are completely safe, and the technique has been approved by the FDA.

Myth 5: In order to achieve professional whitening results, you must visit a dentist.

That is not correct! Professional quality tooth whitening products are now available in Australia for use at home or as a service with a professional accelerator light and supervision – and not just from the dentist.

Dentists are the only ones who can use the VERY STRONG bleaching gels, which contain more than 16 percent hydrogen peroxide and up to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. The main dangers of whitening gel at this concentrations include tooth sensitivity and gum injuries. Dentists utilise a specific gum barrier to protect your gums before applying the powerful gels. A Dentist will usually get a superior whitening outcome in the same amount of time as a non-dental treatment, but there are expenses to consider, both monetarily and in terms of increased tooth sensitivity when employing the harsher Dentist-only procedures.

For many years, Dentists had a monopoly on the cosmetic teeth whitening business since professional teeth whitening technology was prohibitively expensive for everyone else. Because professional tooth whitening products are now more affordable and widely available, you have a wider range of options.

Myth 6: Teeth Bleaching Gels from countries other than the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom are dangerous.

That is not correct! To begin with, you may not realise it in today’s world, but things that look to be created by a reputable American or Australian name are most likely manufactured in China. Because of simple economics, this is true for all types of products and technology worldwide.

There are numerous brands of teeth whitening products on the market. You don’t have to worry about where they were made because it makes NO DIFFERENCE. The active ingredient, Hydrogen Peroxide, is the same everywhere around the world. Because Hydrogen Peroxide is also used as a disinfectant, bacteria cannot live in it, thus it is always safe (ie; germ and bacteria free) to put Hydrogen Peroxide-based gel into your mouth, regardless of where it came from or how it was made.

If the Hydrogen Peroxide gel is past its use by date or chemically expired, you will notice straight away because the gel develops a milky white colour, indicating that it has oxidised and will no longer be effective in whitening your teeth, but it will not damage you.

Myth 7: Customized mouthguard trays are required for the optimum whitening effects.

That is not correct! While dentists provide personalised mouth trays at a high cost, there are various home whitening kits that include boil-n-bite thermoshrinking mouthguards that perform just as well. The completely customised trays may be a little more pleasant to wear, but they need to be because, in general, a Dentist’s at-home teeth whitening kits need you to keep the tray in your mouth for long periods of time throughout several weeks of use. There are non-dentist items that only need to be worn for a limited period of time, therefore it doesn’t matter as much if the mouthguard is less comfortable.

Another issue with overly form-fitted mouthguards is that the gap between the teeth and the surface of the mouthguard is so small that only the tiniest coating of whitening gel can fit between. The issue with this is that less chemical Means less whitening result, thus you must use the mouthguard and gel more frequently and for longer periods of time to have a satisfactory outcome.

Myth 8: All teeth are the same, and whitening outcomes should resemble a “Hollywood” grin.

Unfortunately, some people have unreasonable expectations and may be dissatisfied with the outcomes of their teeth whitening. This is not due to the fact that professional tooth whitening treatments do not function; they ALWAYS work to some extent. It’s because they don’t realise that everyone’s teeth are different in terms of mineral makeup, which means that tooth bleaching will create a different effect for everyone. If your teeth are genetically more yellow than someone else’s, no matter who’s product you use, how many times you try to whiten your teeth, or how strong the gel is, your results will be less white. And other people have severe staining from antibiotics, tetracycline, and other medications that is difficult to remove and may never be completely eliminated. In addition, some people have genetically grey or blue coloured teeth, for which Hydrogen Peroxide whitening does not perform as well as yellow or brown stained teeth.

People see Hollywood stars on television and in movies and believe they can have their teeth bleached to look like them. Unfortunately, that is not an option. Chemical teeth whitening has limitations and will not provide the pristine white colour seen on movie stars (for most people). Is this to say that movie stars are just genetically blessed? No, it implies that Hollywood stars have frequently paid tens of thousands of dollars for Porcelain Veneers to straighten and whiten their teeth. Of course, if you have the money, this is an option as well, but tooth whitening with Hydrogen Peroxide generally makes a notable increase in the whiteness and brightness of natural teeth at a far cheaper cost than Veneers.

Myth 9: I can’t whiten my teeth if I have caps, crowns, veneers, or dentures.

That is not correct! While hydrogen peroxide only whitens natural teeth, it also cleans all surfaces, including the man-made surfaces of caps, crowns, veneers, and dentures. Certain dentists claim that hydrogen peroxide can impair the binding of some of these artificial chemicals or attack the metal components, however if you are concerned, you should consult your dentist before whitening your real teeth.

If you are going to have caps, crowns, or other dental work done, it is always a good idea to whiten your natural teeth first. This is due to the dentist’s ability to match the colour of the artificial substance to your now whiter, genuine teeth, resulting in an overall whiter smile.

Common Teeth Whitening Questions and Answers:

Is Whitening Toothpaste Effective?

The issue here is that there isn’t a high enough concentration of any chemical, and it’s not on your teeth long enough to create a perceptible difference in the whiteness of your teeth. The only true “whiteness” caused by toothpaste, if you can call it that, is the abrasive action of the toothbrush or paste against your tooth enamel. This scraping DOES break down tooth enamel and eliminates huge chunks of staining material on the tooth surface, but it does not remove the microscopic staining particles that make teeth appear yellower. This is similar to “Tooth Polishes,” which only operate like fine sandpaper to remove tooth enamel while brushing and will cause increasing tooth sensitivity as tooth enamel thins with repeated use.

As with the Risk vs. Reward argument, while tooth brushing causes significant damage to tooth enamel over time, on balance, this is preferable than the consequences of not cleaning your teeth.

Don’t be duped by pricey “whitening toothpastes” – they don’t produce a significant change in the whiteness of your teeth, they abrasively remove enamel from your teeth, and you’d be better off investing your money on something that does.

Who is a good candidate for teeth whitening?

The following are the generally accepted guidelines for determining who is a good candidate for teeth whitening:

over the age of 16 (due to potential development of the teeth prior to this age, parental consent may be required)

Not Pregnant or Breastfeeding (this is an additional safety measure to protect babies, although you would not generally be able to swallow enough Hydrogen Peroxide from a normal teeth whitening treatment to harm your baby)

There are no recognised Hydrogen Peroxide allergies. You may be allergic if you have ever had skin sensitivity while bleaching your hair with Hydrogen Peroxide. However, if you are unaware that you are allergic, it will become apparent within the first few minutes of a teeth whitening treatment, and you can simply discontinue the treatment. Any adverse effects, no matter how unpleasant, will go away in a few days with no long-term consequences.
Aside from these diseases, anyone with Dental Braces, gum disease, open cavities, leaking fillings, recent oral surgery, or other dental conditions should avoid teeth whitening. If you are unsure, I urge that you consult your dentist before using a professional level teeth whitening product.

People with grey or blue tinted natural teeth may not profit as much from teeth whitening with Hydrogen Peroxide as people with yellow or brown tinted natural teeth.

If you have Gingivitis or Periodontal disease, any Hydrogen Peroxide bleach on your gum line will be uncomfortable and may cause minor bleeding. As a result, I don’t propose teeth whitening until these issues have been addressed with your dentist. What’s more, studies have shown that Hydrogen Peroxide can kill the bacteria that causes Gingivitis, perhaps averting further harm.

What are the Consequences of Teeth Whitening?

Whitening procedures are generally harmless; nevertheless, some of its potential side effects include:

GUM IRRITATION: If the whitening gel comes into touch with the gum tissue during the treatment, it may cause inflammation and/or blanching or whitening of the gums, gum line, or inside lips. This is because little sections of those tissues were inadvertently exposed to the whitening gel. The inflammation and/or whitening of the gums is temporary, which means it will go away within two hours, usually within 10-30 minutes. People who have a history of mouth ulcers may develop temporary mouth ulcers, which normally go away within a few days of treatment.

TOOTH SENSITIVITY: Although it is more common with in-office dentist treatments that use extremely strong bleaching gels, some people may have tooth sensitivity following the whitening procedure. Existing sensitivity, recently broken teeth, micro-cracks, open cavities, leaky fillings, or other sensitivity-causing dental disorders may enhance or prolong tooth sensitivity following a cosmetic teeth whitening treatment.

SPOTS OR STREAKS: Due to calcium deposits that occur naturally in teeth, some persons may develop white spots or streaks on their teeth. These normally go away within 24 hours.

RELAPSE: It is natural for teeth colour to regress slightly after a cosmetic teeth whitening treatment. This is natural and should happen gradually, but it can be sped up by exposing your teeth to staining substances like coffee, tea, cigarettes, red wine, and so on. You should not eat or drink anything other than water for the first 60 minutes following a teeth whitening procedure, and you should avoid tooth staining substances for the next 24 hours (eat and drink white or clear coloured foods during this time). When employing professional level solutions, the results of a Hydrogen Peroxide-based teeth bleaching procedure can last up to 2 years. Secondary, repeat, or touch-up treatments may be required to obtain or maintain the desired tooth colour.

How do I get the best results from teeth whitening?

Before you answer this question, consider the tooth whitening results of a single treatment as a trade-off for the probable negative effects of a single treatment. Balance is the greatest answer! Balance the potential benefits against the danger of negative effects. The highest doses of Hydrogen Peroxide yield the best outcomes in the shortest amount of time, but they also have the most possible adverse effects. My advise is to go in the middle – neither the strongest, not the weakest – to get a happy balance of results and risk.

Have your teeth professionally cleaned before beginning a professional teeth whitening procedure. At least in the grin area (upper and lower 8-10 front teeth). REMEMBER: Because teeth are opaque, cleaning the BACK of the teeth is critical to the total whitening effects you will accomplish. A Dental Cleaning will remove any unwanted debris attached to the outside of your teeth, allowing the Hydrogen Peroxide to function most effectively at uniformly whitening your natural teeth.

Make use of a professional-grade teeth whitening gel. Many pharmacies, TV commercials, and Internet sites sell tooth whitening solutions that contain 3% or 6% hydrogen peroxide. These simply do not work effectively for tooth whitening, and any benefit they do have takes a LONG time to reach. The cost difference between these low-end products and professional-grade products is not significant, but the time and effort necessary is. If accessible in your area, I recommend 12 percent Hydrogen Peroxide, unless you are undergoing a whitening therapy with a professional accelerator light, which can employ 35 percent Carbamide Peroxide. Of course, the Dentist in-Office power whitening procedures often employ gel that is considerably stronger than 12%, but be aware of the potential negative effects.

Remember that if your teeth aren’t as white as you’d like after the first treatment, you may always take a break and monitor your gums and teeth for any side effects before proceeding with the second treatment (s). This is the best and safest technique to attain excellent teeth whitening results, as long as the solution you use is not too pricey.

How long does it take to whiten your teeth?

This is determined by the substance you use to whiten your teeth as well as your lifestyle.

If you smoke, drink red wine, or use other heavily coloured substances on a frequent basis, your whiter teeth will become discoloured more quickly.

There is no definitive answer to this question, but in general, if you use a professional teeth whitening product for the full treatment as recommended, you may be able to keep the whiter teeth for up to 2 years if you are mindful of what you eat and drink and take proper care of your teeth and oral health.

Most individuals are not saints and live lifestyles in which they love red wine or a curry, for example. That’s OK, but if you want to retain your brighter teeth, clean them 60 minutes after you’ve eaten or drank. According to research, you should not brush your teeth soon after eating since the acid created in your mouth while eating softens the tooth enamel, and abrasive brushing of the teeth during this period can be harmful.

Teeth Whitening Pens are also recommended. They apply a thin layer of Hydrogen Peroxide to the teeth at any time and in any location, and it will bleach any stains near to the tooth surface (if the concentration is strong enough). Because saliva washes away the active component in whitening pens after 30 to 60 seconds, use a Whitening Pen that contains Hydrogen Peroxide (not Carbamide) and is professional quality gel. Whitening pens are not typically effective in removing deeper stains.

Can I still whiten my teeth if I have dental sensitivity?

Yes, and you have a few choices. You could use a desensitising tooth paste for about a month before whitening your teeth, and if your sensitivity is lessened, you can use any product. However, be mindful that your sensitivity will most likely grow during or after the treatment, therefore I recommend using a mid-strength whitening gel that can be removed immediately if discomfort becomes overwhelming.

Another alternative is to use a low-strength whitening gel. This will work for a longer period of time, but it may also increase sensitivity due to the amount of time spent on the teeth to achieve a decent result.

In my opinion, the best option is a Teeth Whitening Pen with at least 12% Hydrogen Peroxide concentration. Because the gel may be painted onto individual teeth and is rinsed away by saliva in less than a minute, this method may offer the best outcomes with the least discomfort.

What should I do right away after whitening my teeth?

  • Without swallowing, rinse the gel from your teeth and mouth.
  • Brush your teeth within 60 minutes with a fluoride-containing tooth paste to help seal the teeth.
  • For at least 60 minutes, refrain from eating or drinking colourful foods or smoking.
  • Use a desensitising tooth paste if you experience tooth sensitivity.
  • If you have tingling in your gums, go to the pharmacy and get a gum-soothing preparation. This will assist to avoid the formation of mouth ulcers (if you are prone to them) and will reduce the discomfort and duration of any potential gum irritation.

The straightforward rule for achieving the best Teeth Whitening outcomes

Hydrogen Peroxide Concentration (Strength) x Time on the Teeth (Time) = Results (Effectiveness)

When considering Time, you should also consider Time’s consequences:

More effort, which means you may not complete the entire therapy
Even more inconvenient

Enough active component to chemically react in that amount of time. That is, simply leaving any whitening cream on your teeth for 24 hours will not help because the Hydrogen Peroxide is usually fully reacted and consumed within 20 minutes.

The mouthguard is exposed to the gums for a longer period of time. The mouthguard’s friction can frequently cause gum discomfort.
Bleaching gel is left on the gums for a longer period of time. Once again, there is the possibility of gum inflammation.

Remember that there are limits to the amount of whiteness that can be achieved with natural teeth, and these will vary depending on your dental genetics, lifestyle, and the quality of your teeth at the time of whitening.

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