We’ve all turned to “Dr Google” for health tips at some point, mostly out of convenience but also because you can get some pretty good advice from time to time. Of course, you can’t totally steer clear of myths and misguided information on the Internet – and the grapevine literature on teeth whitening is no exception.
Lest patients get the wrong idea on what the cosmetic dental treatment is about, hopefully this article can do a bit of myth busting.
Here are a few teeth whitening myths that deserve clarification:
Myth 1:Teeth whitening is not safe
There are different types of teeth whitening products systems out there but for the sake of brevity, let’s divide them into three major categories: Professional chairside teeth whitening, dentist-dispensed take-home whitening kits and over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products.
It’s difficult to endorse OTC whitening products as a whole simply because there is a plethora of choices and brands that make generalisations unhelpful.
On the other hand, professional teeth whitening procedures, whether administered or dispensed by a qualified dentist with a cosmetic dental background, typically involve a more stringent safety protocol.
As a licenced professional, your Canberra dentist is required to go through a structured series of steps, that includes: evaluating your suitability before carrying out the whitening process; and importantly, utilising a host of safety measures and protective wear. For example, the dentist would apply teeth and gum protective barriers to minimise any direct contact between your pearlies and the bleaching agent, thereby greatly reducing any risks of soft tissue burns.
Regarding the dentist-dispensed home whitening kits, you can also find assurance in having professional oversight when it comes to the suitability of the bleaching agent. That’s because the active ingredients in the whitening agent would be set in a mix proportion that fits your requirements. The whitening kit will be prescribed based on the dentist’s knowledge of your dental history, and results of your oral exam during the initial consultation phase of treatment.
As a result, professional teeth whitening treatments are generally considered safe, minimally invasive and are less likely to cause teeth sensitivity, as compared to some OTC products.
Myth 2: All home teeth-whitening kits are the same
This one has been partially debunked in Myth 1. Unlike an OTC kit that a random shopper picks off the shelf, the dentist-dispensed whitening kit contains a bleaching agent that is suited to your specific requirements.
Another important difference lies in the whitening tray that comes with the kit. While over-the-counter (OTC) kits come with generic whitening trays, the dentist-administered ones can be customised to confirm to your exact teeth structure and size. This ensures a better fit hence more even spread of the bleaching gel on your teeth and a better outcome.
Lastly, the gel used in the dentist-prescribed kit generally contains a higher concentrated bleaching solution, which provides a more effective and fast-acting whitening action.
Myth 3: Teeth whitening products are no different from household bleaching products
Perhaps the most unflattering myth about teeth whitening is comparing it to household cleaning products, or as having the same bleaching properties.
To put that false claim to rest, you need only to say one thing: Unlike the typical household bleaching process, teeth whitening treatments are non-acidic.
The whitening process converts the balanced pH formulated solutions into safe and harmless water and oxygen compounds, meaning to say it has been tested safe for use on teeth.
This unique chemical process has also been proven effective at removing the staining particles that have hardened on your teeth.
Myth 4: Teeth whitening works on everyone
This is just as dangerous an assertion as the other negative myths.
First of all, teeth whitening is not suitable for children and adolescents who have a bugger nerve chamber, thus more prone to teeth sensitivity.
If you’ve had previous dental restoration work – like fillings, crown or bridges – done, you must be aware that teeth whitening affects your natural teeth different than the artificial teeth.
To avoid having an uneven whitening effect on your teeth, it’s best to consult your Canberra cosmetic dentist prior to using any whitening products.