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Frequently Asked Tooth Whitening Questions


The Informative and Relevant Details on Teeth Whitening

Home Bleaching Information in Melbourne City/CBD area

Teeth whitening, also known as teeth bleaching, has become extremely popular over the last several years, that it seems like everyone is doing it. If you want to obtain a bright and white smile, teeth whitening may be just what you are looking for. Not only is teeth whitening effective, it can also drastically change your smile and improve your self-esteem at the same time. It's a great way to improve your appearance, it's reasonably priced, non-surgical and non-invasive.

Home bleaching is a process, which can be done at home, involving a wearing of custom made bleaching tray filled with mild bleaching solution. You have to wear the bleaching-filled tray for 2-8 hours per day for about 2-4 weeks to achieve maximum results, much depends on how yellow your teeth are and how much whiter you like them to be. The advantage of home bleaching includes using them whenever it is convenient for you and possibly less cost. The disadvantages include the bother of having to wear the bleaching tray and the entire The teeth whitening system that is best for you can depend on factors such as: the amount of time you have available, your temperament, and how much money you have to spend. rest of the procedure depends on your routinely using bleaching.

Bleaching is a procedure which is designed to lighten the colour of your teeth. When done properly, bleaching will not harm your teeth or gums. Significant lightening can be achieved in the vast majority of cases, but the RESULTS CANNOT BE GUARANTEED. No two people are alike and the procedure may work faster for one person than another. RESULTS MAY VARY FROM PATIENTS TO PATIENTS.

Appointment Procedure on Home Teeth / Tooth Bleaching

At the first appointment, the dentist takes impressions of the patient's teeth and then creates a perfectly fitted mouthpiece. This mouthpiece will allow the patient to apply a bleaching solution to the teeth while protecting the rest of the mouth from contact with the bleaching chemicals.

How does teeth whitening work?

The peroxide ingredient in most teeth whitening products is what actually bleaches the enamel and makes your teeth whiter. The strength of the whitening treatment typically depends on the strength of the peroxide contained in the whitening product. The current percentages of peroxide in teeth whitening products are 10, 16 and 22 percent. The higher the percentage of peroxide, the higher the sensitivity and shorter wearing time.

The bleaching gel is usually hydrogen or carbamide peroxide that breaks down into oxygen molecules. The concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide in the gel is not as strong as that used in power or laser bleaching procedures. No strong light source or laser is needed to activate the bleaching agent. Instead, it is contact with something organic, in this case the teeth, that causes the gel to release oxygen. These molecules go into the tiny pores of the enamel and dentin, and break up the stains that block out the light. As the stains are broken into smaller and smaller pieces, more light passes through the teeth and makes them look lighter. Stains that are accumulated over time that are yellow to slightly brown produce the best results. Teeth that are dark brown to blue-gray are the most difficult to bleach because the stain is deeply embedded into the tooth's structure. These types of stains are usually caused by medications taken during the development of the teeth such as tetracycline, and can take a minimum of three weeks to see results, and as much as six months for complete results.

Depending on the bleaching gel used and the length of time it is worn, results can be seen within an hour, overnight or within three to four days. Complete results can be achieved in as little as a week or as much as several months depending on the source of the stain and the ability of the teeth or tooth to be bleached. The whitening procedure may last for up to three years -- even longer in some cases, depending on personal habits. To brighten the color back up, a simple process of bleaching for one or two nights with a single syringe is usually sufficient.

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Who Should Not Undergo Teeth Whitening or Bleaching?

It is not advisable to undertake whitening procedures under these circumstances

  • Age and pregnancy issues. Here whitening is not available for those under 16 years of age as the nerve of the teeth is large at this stage of life. It could render the nerve more sensitive or cause irritation. Pregnant or lactating women are also not advised to use this method.

  • Sensitive teeth and allergies. Those having sensitive teeth or gums, with receding or defective repairs need to see their dentist before engaging a whitening process. Allergies to peroxide will definitely not be favoured with a bleaching product

  • Gum disease, damaged teeth, cavities, and exposed roots. People with damaged teeth or worn enamel are not advised to use any bleaching method. A bleaching agent might enter any cavity and cause an inside damage. Hence it is necessary to treat such defects before launching into a whitening session. Bleaching does not work on roots also since they do not have the enamel layer on which bleaching acts.

  • Fillings, crowns and restored portions. Dental restorations sometimes make use of colored fillings or resin based products (crowns, veneers, bridges) and these do not whiten with bleaching. So an unequal whitening pattern may appear if bleaching is applied under these conditions. It is better to proceed with whitening before attempting any restoration exercise on the teeth. Best on your individual needs, we will advise on the method of treatment applicable in such cases, and confirming whether any importance is to be given to the bleaching or restoration exercise first.

  • Those expecting dramatic happenings may be disappointed with results below their expectations. People using harmful products like tobacco and wine need to be aware that the result may not stay for longer periods if they do not avoid such products. A more balanced expectation taking into consideration one's own lifestyle and hygiene pattern would give a more objective approach to the results' appreciation. A good standard indication is comparison of color of your teeth should be a little whiter than that of your eyes.

  • Heavily stained teeth. A light yellowish tint will definitely disappear under bleaching; less effective results would appear on brown tinted ones where as grayish or purple stained ones may not reveal any effect. Certain blue-gray stains which, are normally caused by tetracycline take even more time to whiten and require around 6 month of intensive care at the dentist's. Darker stains may be appropriately treated by other methods, for example: veneers, crowns, bonding.

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Best Candidates for Home Bleaching Procedure

Just about anyone is candidate for bleaching. In general, the best candidates for tooth bleaching are:

  • Mature enough to fully understand the procedure o Experiencing stained and marked teeth

  • Knowledgeable about the procedure

  • Wanting to improve their appearance and/or comfort

  • Realistic in their expectations

Note, people with dark yellow or yellow-brown teeth tend to bleach better than people with grey or bluish -grey teeth. Multi-coloured teeth, especially if stained is due to tetracycline, do not bleach very well. In addition, teeth with many fillings, cavities, chips etc are usually best treated by bonding, porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns.

Alternative Teeth Whitening Treatment:

In-Office Bleaching -- In-office teeth whitening offers excellent results. This procedure is performed in the dental office and can be done very quickly, usually in a little over an hour. In-office bleaching is expensive, but the time that you save by having immediate results can make this option appealing.

In addition to laser, power and home bleaching, there are over-the-counter home bleaching kits available in pharmacies and supermarkets. While these products are growing in popularity, some dentists do not recommend using them because of the increased risks. They are not as effective, and can be more damaging to the gum tissue and enamel. Teeth whitening toothpastes can make your teeth appear a little lighter by removing stains, but they do not actually bleach your teeth. Teeth whitening kits from the dentist produce faster results because they contain a stronger peroxide bleaching agent than those whitening kits purchased over the counter. A dentist-supervised system is backed by many safety tests and provides the patient with assurance if questions or problems arise.

Patients interested in whitening their teeth should consult a dentist before taking on any form of treatment whatsoever. A consultation with an experienced dentist will help you understand the benefits and risks associated with each of the options.

You're Responsibilities

 1. WEARING YOUR BLEACHING TRAY: It will only be effective if you conscientiously wear the bleaching tray for the prescribed number of hours per day.

2. COMMUNICATION: If you experience any severe discomfort or other problems, contact us immediately.

3. FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS of the Bleaching gel provided.

4. It's a good idea to have a dental cleaning prior to having your teeth whitened to remove surface stains.

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Risks Associated With Home Teeth Whitening/Bleaching

Bleaching, like any other treatments, has some inherent risk and limitations. These are seldom serious enough to discourage you from having your teeth whitened.
In addition, there are variables, such as type of discoloration that affects your teeth, the degree to which you follow instructions, the overall condition of your teeth, etc that can affect the outcome of treatment.

1. Sensitivity in the teeth or some kind of irritation of the gums or other tissues of the mouth. Sensitivity is noticed at the beginning of bleaching process whereas irritation of soft tissues mainly come from wrong fitting of trays rather that from the bleaching agent itself. These effects disappear a couple of days after the treatment ends. This sensitivity is usually mild if your teeth are not normally sensitive

You can reduce an sensitivity using the following methods:

  • Do not use the tray for long periods. Shorten the use period if you encounter sensitivity problems.

  • Stop the whitening process for some days and let your teeth adapt itself with the whitening system.

  • See your dentist for a product with high-fluoride content. It will restore the mineral level of your teeth if applied to the tray for around 4 minutes before applying the bleaching agent.

  • Use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth to brush. They normally contain potassium nitrate, which will relieve your nerve endings.

However, if your teeth are abnormally sensitive, bleaching may make your teeth much more sensitive for an extended period of time. Under these circumstances, you may choose to delay bleaching until we are able to complete desensitization procedures.

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How much discomfort and sensitivity is there?

The amount of discomfort experienced varies from person to person, and depends on the method used. Most adults usually experience little if any discomfort, however, the discomfort should subside within 24 hours. If needed, an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory may help. If the discomfort lasts for more than 2 - 3 days, consult your dentist for more options.
Decreasing the sensitivity may be as easy as placing a gel fluoride, under your dentist's instruction, in your bleaching tray for an hour or so.
Other materials may be used to address the sensitivity you may experience. Check with your dentist for the best options for your paticular needs.
You should discuss your goals, budget, and pain tolerance with your dentist in order to help him/her determine the procedure, or combination of procedures, that will produce the best results for you. If your teeth are sensitive after bleaching, a mild analgesic will usually be effective to make you more comfortable until your teeth return to normal.

2. GUM IRRITATION: Temporary inflammation of your gums can be caused by bleaching. This is the result of very small amounts of bleach leaking over the tray. A burning sensation in your gums may also occur. This is a minor problem and will resolve by itself in a few days. Irritation can also result from using the bleaching tray too many hours when you first start bleaching or using the bleaching tray too many hours in a row without a break: It may be necessary to reduce the number of hours you are wearing the bleaching tray or stop using it for a short time to resolve these gum problems.

3. SORE THROAT: If you overload the bleaching tray with home bleach, the excess can go down your throat and cause soreness. This soreness will also resolve in several days, assuming you spit out the excess bleach instead of swallowing it.

4. LEAKING FILLINGS OR CAVITIES: Most bleaching is indicated for the outside of the teeth (unless you already had a root canal. However, if you have any fillings that are leaking and allow the bleach to get into the inside of the teeth, damage to the nerves could result. In this case the filling needs to be redone prior to the bleaching. In addition, open cavities can also allow bleach to reach the nerves of the teeth. They should also be filled before bleaching.

5. CERVICAL ABRASION/EROSION: These conditions affect the roots of the teeth when gums recede, these are grooves, notches or depressions where the teeth meet the gums that look darker than the rest of the teeth. They look darker because there is no enamel in these areas. Even if these areas-are-not-sensitive, bleach can be potcntially penetrate the teeth and damage the nerves. Those areas should not be bleached, but should be filled after the bleaching is completed.

6. ROOT RESORPTION: This is condition where the root of the tooth starts to dissolved, either from the inside or outside. Although the cause of the resorption has been determined, studies have shown that its incidence is higher in teeth that have had a root canal and are bleached.

7. EFFECT ON FILLINGS: Even though open cavities should be filled or badly leaking filling should be refilled prior to bleaching can cause tooth coloured filling to become softer and make them more susceptible to staining. Therefore, you should be prepared to have any fillings in you front teeth replaced after bleaching. In addition, since bleaching will normally lighten teeth, but not fillings, you may need to have your fillings replaced anyway, so that they will match your newly whitened teeth.

TAKE NOTE: Tooth colored fillings, crowns, bridges and veneers will not lighten when your teeth are bleached.


1. LEVEL OF LIGHTENING. There is no totally reliable way to predict how lightening of teeth will reach. With home bleaching, 2-4 weeks of using the bleaching tray daily for 2-8 hours will give you much lighter teeth. Additional bleaching may provide slightly more bleaching affect but increases side-effect may occur. We do not recommend home bleaching for any longer than four weeks.

2. RELAPSE. Following the completion of bleaching, there is a potential of relapse of the teeth to go back to their original colour. With home bleaching, you may choose to wear your bleaching tray 6 monthly or yearly depending on how you like to maintain the whitening and to keep relapse from occurring at all. That is why its important to keep your bleaching tray in the box provided, so you can used this for many years for whitening maintenance treatment. All you need to do by this time is purchase to us syringes of whitening solution.

What can I expect after teeth whitening?

The results of teeth whitening are somewhat variable, but most people are happy with the results. After any bleaching treatment, patients should avoid foods that stain, such as tobacco and red wine for about a week. Keeping teeth clean with flossing and brushing can maintain whiteness. Tooth bleaching lasts, on average, about 1-3 years. If you are not a regular tobacco user, and do not eat many foods that are known to stain teeth, bleaching may last even longer.

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