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Frequently asked questions

TOOth Whitening

Please find here answers to some of the more common questions patients ask about our teeth whitening services. Of course, we are happy to discuss your particular questions and dental needs at your convenience - just call the office at 03 533 SMILE (5337 6453).

What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens discoloration, and removes stains from the enamel and dentine of the teeth.  It is one of the treatment options used to get you a whiter smile.

There are two types of whitening: One is an in-office procedure, that takes a little over an hour and also includes a home kit to continue the process. The other procedure employs an effective, powerful, yet mild solution retained in a custom tray that is worn over your teeth generally for an hour a day. Both processes have the same end result, so we find most patients prefer the convenience of a custom fitted home kit.

Neither bleaching procedure is known to harm the teeth or gums, if used correctly.  Significant whitening can be achieved in the majority of suitable cases.

Why can only a dentist get my teeth their whitest?
The powerful whitening solutions can only be prescribed by a dentist and are not available over the counter.  Prior to beginning treatment, we will examine your teeth and gums to determine whether you have any tooth decay, or any other contra-indications for tooth whitening. 

What causes tooth discoloration?
There are many causes. The most common include aging, consumption of staining substances (coffee, teas, colas, and tobacco), trauma, tetracycline (antibiotic) staining, excessive fluoride, and nerve degeneration.

Who may benefit from tooth whitening?

Almost anyone. However there are some cases where the treatment may not be effective.  Through a thorough oral examination, we can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this process.  If it is whitening will not get you the desired result, we can discuss the other options available for you.

Tooth-whitening is most ideal for patients who have healthy, unrestored teeth and would like to have a whiter, brighter smile. People with yellow or yellow-brown teeth tend to whiten best.

Multi-coloured teeth, especially if stained due to tetracycline, do not bleach easily. In addition, fillings, bonding, veneers and crowns do not bleach, and may need to be changed to match the lighter teeth once the bleaching is completed.

Do I need to have my teeth cleaned prior to whitening?
Yes, ideally a professional clean should be done. 

If necessary, we will remove surface stains, and calculus (tartar) deposits that could hinder the process. Also, a professional clean will remove any irritants that may lead to gum sensitivity during the process.

After the clean, it will be your responsibility to maintain excellent oral hygiene, including daily flossing, to give the teeth and gums a chance to be their healthiest.

How white will my teeth get?
There are many factors involved including the cause, darkness, colour of the stain, and your consistency with the process. In the office we can show you some examples of what you might expect.

Also, we should note that occasionally some teeth don't whiten evenly; this is because the biting edges and the sides of the teeth whiten more quickly than the rest of the teeth. This occurs because your enamel is thinner in these areas and may respond better to the whitening process.

We will also let you know if there is a better option for you to get the result you are after.

Is the teeth whitening process safe?
Yes!
Research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums.

If you are interested in having your teeth whitened, please call us on 03 533 SMILE (5337 6453) for a consultation and assessment by our dentist, who can formulate a treatment plan and determine if this treatment is suitable for you.