Teeth whitening is the most common dental treatment patients seek. Whether they just want a few shades brighter or that full Hollywood smile, getting their teeth a whiter white is high on the list of oral concerns for many.
It can seem like there are as many ways of whitening your teeth as there are people looking to get their teeth whitened. The question for those looking to brighten their teeth quickly becomes, what’s the best way to do it?
There are two primary ways to whiten teeth: in a dental office, or in the comfort of your own home. Each system has its pros and cons, so let’s take a look into the best options for whitening your teeth.
How Teeth Whitening Works
All teeth whitening, be it in-chair or at-home, works with the same principle: a bleaching agent is added to teeth that removes particles which result in discolouration and staining.
The primary differences between the different methods are:
- The kind of bleaching agent used.
- How strong the bleaching agent is.
- How the bleaching agent is activated.
Different formulations can give roughly the same results. One of the biggest considerations for patients is how sensitive their own teeth are. Some formulations are designed for use with people who have more sensitive teeth, while others would be incredibly uncomfortable to use on sensitive teeth.
How Much Whiter Can Teeth Get?
One thing that’s important for people to remember is that whitening is somewhat similar to tanning. How? When you go to a tanning salon or sunbake, you’re guaranteed to get more tan. However, how much you tan has a lot to do with your skin and biology. Two people going into a tanning salon at the same time for the same duration at the same settings can get different results.
It’s the same with teeth whitening. Your teeth will be noticeably whiter after whitening, but exactly how many shades is less predictable.
In-Chair Teeth Whitening
In-chair, or in-office, teeth whitening is whitening performed in a dental clinic. There are many whitening systems you can find at the dentist, from bleaching through to high-tech laser-assisted whitening.
A session of in-chair teeth whitening typically lasts 1-2 hours, regardless of the system used. Often two sessions will be recommended. At the end of in-chair treatment, you can expect to have your teeth brightened by 5-7 shades.
In-chair teeth whitening with your dentist is the fastest way to achieve dramatic results. Even after a single 1-2 hour session, your teeth will be much brighter than before. This is because dental practices are allowed to use higher concentrations of bleaching agent to achieve better results, in a controlled environment.
The downside to in-chair whitening is that it’s significantly more expensive, and you have to fit a substantial block of time into your daily schedule.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
At-home teeth whitening can be bought over the counter in a pharmacy, or at the dentist.
Due to regulations, DIY teeth whitening kits or at-home teeth whitening kits contain lower concentrations of bleaching agents. Users need to wear special mouth trays once or twice a day, every day for several days or weeks to achieve results.
While at-home teeth whitening is substantially slower than in-chair whitening, it can achieve the same results. It’s more convenient, as you can wear the whitening tray at home in your spare time, and it is significantly cheaper.
At-home kits sold by a dentist are typically selected as the best of the lot, so you know you’re getting a reliable brand. A benefit of getting an at-home kit from the dentist is that you can also get a custom impression of your teeth to use with the whitening kit. Using a custom impression means the whitening agent has better contact with your teeth for better results.
The Best Solution: Putting the Two Together
For the best results, dentists usually recommend using both systems.
In-chair whitening is perfect for getting the initial results. However, after 6-12 months patients may notice their teeth start to discolour (the more you smoke, eat berries, drink red wine, or have coffee, the faster the teeth will lose their whiteness). To combat this, rather than go back to the dentist for another costly round of in-chair whitening, you use an at-home kit.
The at-home kit acts as a maintenance pack to “top up” your whitening at your convenience. This stretches the results of the in-chair whitening out significantly longer, giving you a bright, healthy smile for many extra months.
If you are looking to improve the brightness of your smile through teeth whitening why speak with the team at Enamel Dental Studio and we can further discuss your options to get you the best results and maintain great looking teeth. Call us on (07) 3841 6641 or email [email protected].