Human vanity is big business. According to a report, the global teeth whitening product industry is expected to grow to a $7.40 billion industry by 2024.
And this doesn’t even include the total value of treatments done at a dental clinic.
With so many products and options, come a plethora of questions around methods and various approaches.
Dentist teeth whitening. Is this the best way to go?
In this detail-rich definitive guide, we have collected everything you should know about this cosmetic dental procedure including:
Let’s get our teeth stuck into the matter. (sorry, had to be done)
First of all, let us establish that the blinding white set of Hollywood teeth is not the default we should be striving for.
We get it, it’s a vanity thing but thousands of people are obsessed with the question:
Why are my teeth yellow?
Don’t forget that, if you have poor lighting conditions in your bathroom, it may only be the reflection of the light that makes you think that you have yellow teeth.
Secondly, we all have a natural shade to our teeth that again be based on factors beyond your control, such as genetics!
Yes, if you have an obsession with the colour of your teeth (you shouldn’t by the way), you may want to blame your parents for having a more yellowish tint.
Thirdly, your life habits and poor life choices such as a being an avid coffee/tea drinker or a (heavy) smoker respectively can be influencers in the discolouration of your teeth.
Intrinsic tooth staining
As the name suggests, there are several other factors affecting tooth colour thanks to its internal development, lack thereof and structure.
“Wear and tear” is a causer of natural change in tooth shade. As you get older, your teeth become more yellow in the process.
Poor dental care and not following oral hygiene tips alas lead to damage.
Your local dentist may even be able to show you tooth surfaces or examples of various stages of decay.
Some sort of dental trauma can also result in pulp necrosis when the root literally dies and causes a darker shade on the affected tooth.
However, without this post becoming a dentistry class let us move on to more interesting topics.
How do you whiten your teeth?
There are two ways of going about it:
There’s definitely a lot of material to be covered for the DIY tooth whitening, which we won’t go into with this post.
Instead, we will focus on the expert way of getting a brilliant, white smile.
Safest teeth whitening
A quick reminder, that while this is an entirely safe and legitimate cosmetic dental treatment, you are still bleaching your teeth with a chemical.
Typically, carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
Needless to say, that if this bleach is left on the surface of your teeth, you could damage the enamel resulting in increased sensitivity to hot or cold.
(This is something we will go into the details more under the risk part of this post, so keep reading)
This is obviously a lot less likely if you see someone about whitening your teeth who knows what he/she is doing.
Check out this video from the British Dental Association to learn who is really allowed to execute a procedure like this and why:
Because of the rules and regulations put in place in the industry, teeth whitening done at your dental clinic is perceived to be the safest way.
Again, since this is a cosmetic procedure, your dental health should really come first.
So, don’t be up in arms should your dentist discourage you from doing any tooth whitening (including the do it yourself version), because he or she is looking after your best interest.
Ok, so now we have a peace of mind about who is doing our tooth bleaching and what are the parameters.
But the next question we should be addressing is this:
What is the best teeth whitening method at the dentist?
Firstly, let us look at the most commonly occurring technologies applied for this treatment.
Philips Zoom teeth whitening
Note that Philips Zoom tooth whitening has a version where your dental trays are customised and to be used at home.
We will focus on the in-office version for now.
By default, a medical examination will take place to ensure your oral health is adequate and any risks are properly explained or mitigated.
Note that artificial surfaces or materials such as veneers or implants will not respond to this treatment so this will have to be taken into consideration as well.
Next, your dentist will prepare the oral area by covering the lips and gums.
We don't want the hydrogen peroxide gel to touch such areas to prevent any damage.
Once the dentist or the assistant has applied the gel on your teeth, the Zoom light is activated to trigger a chemical reaction inside the agent and break up the stains and any discolouration.
The light will produce some heat, but it is really nothing painful or uncomfortable, just something to expect to happen.
This will go on for about 15 minutes during which time you can just kick back and relax.
We will cover aftercare and maintenance touch-up further down.
The Philips Zoom is certainly popular among dentists and dental hygiene specialists and millions are happy with the results too!
Check out this 1-minute video summary about Philips Zoom:
The other contending in-office teeth whitening method comes from a brand called Opalescence (Boost).
Opalescence Boost teeth whitening
This is yet another commonly requested bleaching method where the process is very similar to the Zoom one, except there is no laser or special light that activates chemical agents in the bleaching gel.
Instead, the company has developed a material that is engaging with discolouration on the tooth’s surface without the need of any light.
On top of that, they also introduced a patented and self-developed component called PF, a type of potassium nitrate and fluoride mix to combat post-treatment tooth sensitivity and even cavities to a certain extent.
Enlighten teeth whitening
If you have read the first two in-chair options, you won't be shocked that the process is yet again kicked off with a general dental examination and then you have the option to select from:
Again, we will concentrate on the one done at the clinic.
Most dentists who have experimented with a variety of teeth whitening technologies and providers will probably argue that in terms of results, Enlighten is definitely at the top.
You could see improvement up to 16 shades on the scale which is most impressive, not many other brands can deliver that.
The secret is probably in the effort, beyond the propriety development process of the gels, of course: it can take up to 3 weeks to get the treatment fully completed.
You can go home during that period of course, but after the in-chair process, you are also provided with dental trays to maintain the work.
And if that wasn't enough, you may also be required to go back at the end to fully seal the deal with laser treatment as well.
Ok, so what is the verdict being the best way to brighten a smile?
In terms of popularity and reach, the Philips Zoom teeth whitening approach is the clear winner.
When we look at Google Trends, we can easily spot the trends and how much more Philips Zoom is searched for in the search engine.
Hopefully, this post will help you decide which is the best way to go about it for YOU!
So, let’s say you have your teeth whitened at the dentist office, what comes next?
Here’s the thing:
This treatment will not guarantee a lifelong white tint of your teeth.
As discussed at the beginning, your eating and drinking habits for one can very much make the yellow appear again.
Aftercare and Maintenance
For most Zoom treatments, your dentist may give you a customised whitening tray to apply some touch-up DIY bleaching with considerably lower carbamide- or hydrogen peroxide content.
Your dentist may also advise avoiding certain foods and drinks that are responsible for teeth discolouration.
The most infamous ones are tea, coffee and even curries (so go easy on the chicken jalfrezi)
Also, if you’re a smoker and if you want to retain that wicked new smile, you should give up smoking.
You not only reduce your health risks overall, but you’re also maximising the return on your investment.
And speaking of investment, we haven’t touched on probably the most burning question:
Teeth whitening cost at the dentist
Needless to say, teeth whitening prices vary across the country and even the type affects the final price tag.
Based on our own research across the country we devised the below bands that you can expect:
You can sometimes have better deals generally the more north you are in the country.
Should you be looking for teeth whitening in Preston or the nearby settlements, we would love to work out a good deal for you :)
We appreciate that the cost element is often the most important question, but we also feel that there are several others that people often seek answers for.
We will now attempt to address these below:
Is it worth getting your teeth whitened at the dentist?
For the safety factor alone, it is well worth seeing the dentist and to have your teeth whitened by a professional.
With the over-the-counter products offering limited results and some risks if/when instructions are not followed, the dentist is a safe bet.
How long does it take for the dentist to whiten teeth?
Depending on the type of procedure, including the full examination and preparation, the on-site treatment will last for about an hour. The full treatment, however, can take up to 3-4 weeks.
Is it bad to get your teeth professionally whitened?
Since an in-chair teeth whitening treatment contains a check-up by default it is GOOD to have your teeth bleached professionally just for the general check alone.
Is it better to whiten teeth at the dentist or home?
As mentioned above, most DIY solutions can offer limited improvement, typically only 2-8 shades. Treatments at a dental clinic, depending on the procedure, can reach up to 16 shades.
How long will my teeth hurt after whitening?
Sensitivity is expected to last for about 48 hours, during which time try to be gentle when brushing and use a new, soft-bristled toothbrush. After 2 days, the sensitivity should dissipate.
Does blue light whiten teeth?
Blue and UV light only have teeth whitening effect when combined with a bleaching agent that the dentist applies to the patient's teeth.
Should you have more questions, feel free to contact us via the form on our teeth whitening service page.
Hopefully, the information above lived up to its claim whereby this is a definitive guide about teeth whitening at the dentist.
What are your favourite in-chair teeth whitening methods?
Let us know in the comments below!