Sadly, our teeth loose their colour and shine over time and as a result, can appear dull and stained.
The shade of our pearlies can also be adversely impacted by the dietary choices that we make. For example, frequent indulging of red wine and coffee can cause stains that are difficult to remove at home. While regular brushing and flossing can help to clean the surface layer of your teeth, the effectiveness on stains is limited, particularly on those that have been accumulating over the years.
For those who are displeased with the discolouration, dullness and staining on their teeth, whitening treatments are a viable solution. Compared to other forms of cosmetic dental treatments such as porcelain veneers, tooth whitening represents an inexpensive and less invasive way to brighten your teeth. An additional benefit is that there is no removal of natural tooth structure involved in whitening procedures.
In terms of efficacy, it is estimated that 90% of teeth whitening treatments are successful, while evidence-based studies have shown the ability of professional teeth whitening systems to lighten teeth by up to 10 shades.
Nonetheless, professional whitening is not a permanent fix and will need to be maintained and the safest, most effective way to do so is with your dental professional.
So how long does it last and how long is the procedure?
With professional in-chair whitening treatments, you can achieve visible shade improvement immediately after the one-hour procedure, which continues to brighten in the 48 hours afterwards. Alternatively, you can do whitening at home with a dentist-prescribed take-home kit, by which you can achieve results within 1-2 weeks.
It is important to note that a professional take-home kit includes specialised whitening gel and a custom-fitted tray. As compared to an ill-fitting stock tray purchased over the counter or online by other non-registered retailers, the customised dental tray conforms precisely to your specific teeth and gums to ensure an even coat of gel is held against the surface of your teeth, safely avoiding the gums and other soft tissues.
The main complaint against OTC products is that their effectiveness varies greatly across brands, typically lasting less than four months. The systems on the market are not all regulated like they are in a dental clinic, with regulatory bodies ensuring safe peroxide intensities and usage.
In comparison, the results of professional teeth whitening are estimated to last anywhere between six months to several years. It is hard to put a definitive time duration simply due to diet and lifestyle variations between patients, but there are things you can do to maintain your pearly whites.
It really boils down to how well you take care of your teeth after the whitening treatment and consider the foods and drinks responsible for staining.
For example, if you avoid beverages such as tea, coffee or red wine, you are likely to maintain the condition of your whitened teeth for a longer period than someone who frequently consumes heavily pigmented drinks. Rinsing with water after consuming these types of beverages can reduce the staining on your teeth.
Similarly, a whitening customer who practices good oral hygiene – brushing their teeth at least twice a day or after every meal – will also prolong the results of their whitening procedure.
There is whitening products on the market, such as toothpastes that you can use in conjunction with your daily oral care regimen that will also tend to prolong the brightness of their teeth. It is recommended that you consult your dentist on the use of supplementary whitening products to ensure no detriment to your teeth and gums.
For optimum long-term results, you should be ‘topping up’ your professional whitening every 6 to 12 months.
That means in-chair-patients who wish to maintain their dazzling smile should be making an annual trip to the dentist and undergo the hour-long whitening treatment.
In the case of professional take home whitening kit, customers can simply purchase the whitening gel whenever they require a ‘top-up’.
Why not do both? To save yourself the hour-long appointment, you can purchase a take-home kit after your in-chair procedure and do your top ups at home where required, under the instruction of your dental professional.
North Sydney Dental Practice offers the latter type of whitening treatment. The NSDP whitening kit is one of the safest and most effective products proven to whiten teeth. It is also the product most dentists use on their own teeth.
Based on the clinic’s own estimation, a top-up of a night or two every 6-12 months is usually enough to maintain the whitening results for the long term. Since you already own the kit with the custom made trays, all you must do is purchase the whitening gel from our clinic when you need it, which is always readily available to you.
As compared to the more expensive in-chair whitening option, this makes the already cost-effective take-home option even more value for money.
NSDP’s specialised take home whitening kit includes custom-made trays and their medical-grade whitening gel, with carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient.
To find out more about teeth whitening and whether it is right for you, call North Sydney Dental Practice on 02 8074 5320.