Wellness Tips | 16 September, 2019

Teeth Whitening - How White, How Long and How to Avoid Side Effects

When deciding to whitening your teeth, there are always some questions that come to mind. How white will my teeth get? How long will the treatment last? Are there any side effects that may occur? We've taken a look at these common whitening questions to help you understand what to expect when undertaking a teeth whitening treatment. Remember, all your questions are important and you should ask your local dentist about any concerns you have before undergoing your teeth whitening treatment.  

How white will my teeth get?

Not all whitening treatments are equally effective, therefore you need to be realistic about your expectations when undergoing whitening. Teeth whitening is different for every person and there are many variables that will determine how white your teeth will get including:

  • Original pigment (colour) of your teeth
  • Your Lifestyle habits – food, drink, smoking etc.
  • The whitening treatment (In Chair, Take-Home, Over-the-Counter)
  • How well your teeth respond to the whitening agent

When whitening your teeth two to three shades can make a difference to anyone’s smile. Whilst whitening treatments can make this change, these variables need to be considered in your expectations.
Be aware that the many white smiles you see on your favourite social media pages may not be real teeth and could in fact be ‘veneers’ on the surface of the teeth. Again, remember to factor this into your expectations and do your research before buying.

How long will my teeth stay white?

You’ve finished your whitening treatment, your teeth are a nice, bright white, but how long will it last?

Long-term results are dependent on your lifestyle habits and behaviours. Eating and drinking stain-causing food and drink, smoking, and trauma to the teeth can increase the rate of discolouration. However, with the correct maintenance, the effects of teeth whitening can last for a few years:

  • Daily Care – maintaining your daily routine is important. Brushing and flossing regularly will help your teeth stay brighter. Rinsing your mouth with water after eating stain-causing foods can also help you prolong your whitening treatment.
  • Custom Manufactured Take-Home Kits – Some in chair treatments also offer take-home top-up kits that maintain the whitening treatment.
  • Visit your Dentist – Maintaining your regular check-ups and cleans will help prolong your whitening treatment. Your dentist can remove any surface stains during these appointments.

How to avoid any side effects of Whitening

Teeth whitening is a non-invasive treatment and is completely safe when performed correctly. When performed incorrectly, teeth whitening treatments can cause uneven results and potential injury.

  • If the agent comes in contact with the gums or soft tissue in the mouth it can result in “burning” of the gums. This is generally transient though professional application is advised, otherwise follow your instructions carefully to avoid such injury.
  • Teeth sensitivity is a possible side effect of whitening and some patients do experience this after treatments. Sensitivity can be the result of exposed areas around the gum line due to gum recession. When the whitening agent is applied to such areas, tooth sensitivity is increased. Also, the greater the concentration of gel, the greater the risk of tooth sensitivity. Dentists are trained to minimise the risk of such tooth sensitivity despite using higher concentrations of whitening gels to achieve better results than over-the-counter products.
  • It’s recommended pregnant women and new mothers avoid teeth whitening treatments until they have had their child and are no longer breastfeeding.

Teeth whitening is not suitable for everyone and consulting a dentist before undergoing any teeth whitening treatment is strongly recommended. Your dentist can advise on the best treatment for you based on your individual needs. Any oral health conditions you are experiencing (decay, gum disease etc.) should be treated before you start your whitening treatment.

Are you considering whitening your teeth? Contact your local Maven Dentist or book a consultation online.