I’m sure I’m not alone in admiring the shiny white teeth you see on celebrities and in magazines, and being left a little jealous that my chompers don’t shine the same way.
Teeth whitening is definitely an option, one that not so long ago was confined to dental and cosmetic dental prefessionals. Now there are ways to get shiny white teeth in the comfort and privacy of your own home, as well as through your dentist or cosmetic dentistry practice.
I think one of the first things to keep in mind is that teeth become discoloured largely due to lifestyle choices so if you don’t change your lifestyle habits your tooth whitening will not be permanent. This may be something to keep in mind when you are weighing up your options and deciding what method will be best for you.
Let’s start with looking at one of the treatments performed by professionals.
Laser Tooth Whitening
At Adelaide Cosmetic Dentistry laser tooth whitening is performed in a clinic while you sit comfortably and watch a DVD. It is safe, effective and one of the most cost-effective treatments for the whitening of teeth. Teeth are carefully cleaned and gums are isolated for protection. A patented red hydrogen peroxide gel is applied to the teeth and activated using a green laser light. The gel and laser work together to break down the staining molecules and leave teeth looking whiter. The formulation is non-acidic and the treatment does not use UV light.
Laser Tooth Whitening is safe though sensitivity can occur in a small number of cases, if this happens during treatment patients need to report it straight to the dentist so they can divert the laser to another tooth and return later.
Laser Tooth Whitening is effective in treating yellow or discoloured teeth, the results are visible and immediate. Results will vary depending on the severity of the discolouration and also on individual patient’s teeth.
Not all clinics use the same laser tooth whitening methods, some use UV whitening devices and some use laser.
Natural Tooth Whitening Methods
There are a wealth of natural ways to whiten teeth, and I am sure that there are some that work better than others.
Natural methods for teeth whitening are a great option for people who always try to take the natural or sustainable option, and they are probably the cheapest. Natural methods are also a great option for pregnant women trying to avoid chemicals and substances that could harm their precious cargo.
Some of the natural methods that have been known to have visible results are Charcoal Whitening, Oil Pulling, Baking Soda and Lemon. There are many methods and recipes for whitening teeth naturally at home.
Charcoal whitening, it pays to remember, does require activated charcoal which can be purchased as a powder, and make sure it is food/medical grade; it’s not a matter of grabbing a charcoal chunk from your fire pit or heater. Charcoal has some amazing properties that I was never aware of.
Activated Charcoal is a highly absorbent porous substance that binds to the things that are known to stain teeth.
There are a couple of ways to use activated charcoal to whiten teeth. You can put some charcoal powder in water and swish for a few minutes then spit the water leaving the charcoal on your teeth for a few minutes longer and rinse followed by a regular brushing; or you can simply dip your brush in activated charcoal powder and brush.
Oil Pulling is another effective method, generally using coconut or sesame oil. The method here is to swish with a small amount (approx 10g) of coconut oil for 20 minutes and it will help remove bacteria and plaque from the mouth.
Turmeric is an interesting one because traditionally turmeric has quite a strong colour and is known to stain surfaces, but it does help to whiten teeth. Simply wet your toothbrush, dip in 1/8 teaspoon of organic turmeric powder and brush your teeth as normal. Leave turmeric on teeth for 3-5 minutes, spit and thoroughly rinse then follow by brushing with your regular toothpaste.
Baking Soda and Lemon is no real surprise, make a paste and brush but don’t leave on for more than a minute or the lemon juice can affect your enamel.
I’m sure there are many more natural methods and Google and Pinterest will give you countless options.
At Home Treatments
At home tooth whitening treatments also abound. There are toothpastes, whitening strips, chewing gums and rinses as well as complete whitening treatments.
Tooth Whitening at home can come from the supermarket or pharmacy if you are looking at toothpastes, gums and strips or you can try some of the websites that specialise in at-home whitening treatments.
Teeth Whitening treatments for home use come in many shapes and sizes so it’s important to do your research. Not all kits use the same quality ingredients, or live up to Australia’s stringent safety standards.
Love My Teeth use the strongest at-home concentration of Carbamide Peroxide whitening agent, don’t test on animals, adhere to Australian safety standards, don’t contain animal products and ship from Sydney. They utilise a 6 bulb LED light for faster and stronger results to help speed up the oxidisation reaction. Results from the Love My Teeth treatment kit can be as many as 8 shades lighter in a week, but that will depend on individual users.
The treatment kit from Love My Teeth sees you start with one week of daily treatments, at one hour per treatment. After the first week it is recommended to repeat every 2-4 weeks to retain results because your lifestyle will return your stains.