Many people want to have a whiter brighter smile and tooth whitening can certainly create an easily achieved smile makeover. There are many reasons why teeth discolour - ageing and certain food and drinks are a common cause of teeth yellowing. To find out why your teeth have discoloured please come and see us for a free consultation. Dr Appleton will evaluate your teeth and discuss treatment options with you.
What can be achieved with tooth whitening?
We have been whitening teeth successfully for 20 years. Our treatment programmes are designed to get predictable long lasting whitening that maintains a white colour without suffering from sensitivity effects. We use an extensively researched deep bleaching protocol and our results show that the treatment is safe effective and can be long lasting provided you maintain your beautiful smile with our comprehensive hygiene programmes.
It is important to realise that not all teeth can be successfully whitened and crowns, veneers and fillings will not whiten. We will discuss any limitations with you before you consider tooth whitening.
Our Whitening Systems
We offer three whitening options at The Gunyah:
‘Home’ Whitening $475
This system is ideal for people who want to achieve professional whitening results in their own home – day or night. We will create customised whitening trays to fit your teeth and provide you with the most suitable concentration of whitening gel for your needs. Using the different concentrations means you can choose whether to whiten overnight or for shorter periods (as little as 30 minutes per day). Treatment usually takes 2 weeks.
‘Ultra’ Whitening $600
This is our most popular and effective choice of tooth whitening which combines our Home Whitening with an in-surgery conditioning treatment at the time of fitting of your customised bleaching trays. This conditioning treatment enables us to prime your teeth using a higher concentration gel to give a great jumpstart to your whitening, producing consistently better results.
‘Ultra Plus’ Whitening from $875
This treatment is usually reserved for patients presenting with the most difficult whitening challenges such as tetracycline stained teeth, fluorosis and geriatric staining. It can also be used for people looking to achieve an even whiter smile. Using a similar system to Ultra Whitening with jumpstart conditioning, we then extend the Home phase of the treatment before completing the whitening with a final in-surgery boost.
The Gunyah’s Whitening for Life Programme
We are happy to offer our Whitening for Life loyalty programme to patients who keep up with their regular dental and hygiene appointments at the practice. We will provide you with FREE top-up whitening gel or a FREE in-surgery boost treatment as needed to maintain your bright smile (maximum two a year). We will also offer a 50% discount on replacement bleaching trays should they become necessary.
We use Opalescence Tooth Whitening gels in our practice as they are safe and effective, with over 20 years of research and development behind them. The gels contain an active whitening ingredient (either 10%, 15%, 35% or 45% carbamide peroxide) that penetrates your enamel to get to discoloured molecules. Oxygen molecules from the whitening agents react with the discoloured molecules in your teeth, breaking the bonds that hold them together. The oxygen molecules spread, whitening the entire tooth. As a result, you are left with a brighter, whiter smile.
Does tooth whitening with a light improve results?
There are many whitening treatments that use a light or ‘laser’ during the whitening process, and while they add a little dramatic effect to the event many have questioned whether they are effective. Current research shows that use of the light does not make a difference in the final outcome of in-office bleaching; instead, it primarily contributes to the illusion of whitening through the dehydration of the tooth structure during the time that the mouth is held open with the light shining on the teeth! This apparent initial tooth colour change is soon diminished when the enamel surface rehydrates. Many patients also report tooth and gum sensitivity reactions during these treatments due to the hot, uncomfortable light and a reaction between the hydrogen peroxide used and photon energy from the bleaching light and laser which leads to significantly increased levels of neurotransmitter release. For these reasons we do not recommend the use of tooth whitening with a light to our patients.
I can get cheaper whitening online and at a beauty salon or bleaching booth. Should I be tempted?
Nowadays, everyone wants whiter teeth, and that attracts ‘entrepreneurial types’ ready to exploit the high demand. Consequently there is a lot of deception regarding teeth whitening products and it is a case of ‘buyer beware’, particularly with the huge number of internet-based scams popping up on our screens. Tooth whitening is also seen more and more as an add-on treatment at spas and beauty salons but cannot be recommended unless it is being carried out by a fully qualified dental practitioner.
Only a dentist is qualified to make the correct diagnosis about whether tooth whitening is appropriate and if so, which type of whitening should be used. A beautician is not qualified to identify the cause of any tooth discolouration, and so can't recommend the right treatment or give an accurate idea of what the final result might be. Getting the correct diagnosis can mean the difference between lovely white teeth and a complete waste of time and money. Whitening might even be completely inappropriate if the patient is hoping to improve the colour of existing crowns or fillings, as the gel will only whiten natural tooth structure, not filling materials. Certainly the average beautician (unless of course they have completed a five year dental degree) is not trained to identify the difference between completely natural teeth and restored teeth, and this can lead to problems as dentists work really hard to make their fillings and crowns indistinguishable from healthy teeth! We have certainly been asked to replace plenty of fillings and crowns after patients have been left with multi-coloured teeth following whitening by beauticians.
It is really important that only a healthy mouth undergo whitening treatment. Applying whitening gel to decayed teeth and unhealthy gums can be extremely painful, and only a dentist can confirm that there are no outstanding issues that could jeopardise treatment. Whitening gel comes in lots of different concentrations and formulations. A non-dentally trained person such as a beautician should only be using very low concentration gels as high concentration gels can irritate and burn the gums if applied incorrectly. Only dentists can legally apply the stronger peroxide gels to the teeth of a patient. This means the patient will usually get a faster result than when using a lower concentration gel.
If you go to a non-dental practitioner to have your teeth whitened, then you do so at your risk. You have to ask yourself - what is their infection control protocol? Are the bleaches safe? Is the strength of the bleach going to permanently impair my teeth? What training do the operators have? Am I suitable for whitening? For the user of the service it is really a step into the unknown as they and the provider just do not have an appreciation of what they are doing.
Bleaching Booths are a fairly new concept where you can have your teeth whitening done at your local shops. Basically they use a paint-on process with some showmanship and blue lights thrown in. You are paying someone to apply a Whitening Pen style application that doesn’t have much impact. The enamel dehydration caused by the light may well make your teeth appear lighter but only until the teeth become rehydrated again! The ADA has actively tried to educate the public that tooth whitening should only be performed by those that have the skills, knowledge and training to understand the anatomy and physiology of teeth and gums; can accurately diagnose the causes of dental discolouration; can diagnose oral health problems; and who comply with infection control.
Dental professional whitening treatments when performed by a dental practitioner (from professionally supplied gels through to in-dental clinic treatments) are an effective and safe form of dental treatment. It may cost a little more initially, but you're far more likely to get the bright smile you're after in the safest possible way.