Maybe you’ve always wanted a beautiful white smile, your teeth have yellowed, or are stained.
There are many reasons for whitening your teeth that include:
Teeth whitening products help to remove surface stains and discolouration, but don’t change the actual colour of the teeth. This could be anything from toothpastes to a professional cleaning with your oral hygienist.
Bleaching is a chemical process which changes the internal colour of the teeth, lightens them and greatly improves how they look. There is no such thing as a one size fits all bleaching procedure and each person should have a customised bleaching program that suits them and their teeth. In order to maintain the beautiful pearly whites for years to come, its essential to carry out home maintenance using customized bleaching trays an good oral hygiene.
However, getting this properly done by a qualified oral hygienist or dentist using high quality teeth whitening products means longer lasting results without the damage and minimal to no discomfort.
The most common reasons your teeth become yellow or stained are:
Ageing also makes teeth less bright because your tooth enamel gets thinner and the dentine becomes darker. It is also possible to have stains inside the tooth called intrinsic stains, which can be caused from physical trauma to your teeth or exposure to antibiotics during childhood.
These products will help with removing surface stains only and most won’t actually change the colour of your teeth. Many over the counter products are very acidic and can cause severe damage to your teeth and support structures, as well as your fillings / restorations. Your dental professional is always the best person to ask when it comes to which product you should be using. Professional whitening products sold by dentists and oral hygienists, such as toothpastes and mouthwashes are far safer for your teeth than over the counter alternatives. Any bleaching products that have not been customised to fit the individual’s mouth can cause severe damage to the gums as well as the teeth, even if they don’t contain hydrogen or carbamide peroxide.
This option requires an appointment with the dentist or dental hygienist to customise a bleaching program to suit both you and your teeth. A cleaning will be done, followed by impressions for the take home bleaching trays. These usually take about an hour to prepare and make. You will then be given a minimum of 6 take home Philips Day or Nite White ampoules as well as Relief gel to use over the next 2-3 weeks. The reason for the staining on your teeth will determine the strength of peroxide gel to be used and the length of time you will need to bleach for. One person may achieve their desired results within 2 weeks using the Day White for 30 minutes per day, and another may need to continue for up to 3 months to achieve their desired results. Its perfectly safe to continue whitening for longer periods of time as long as the teeth are still changing colour. Our oral hygienist will see you regularly over this time to ensure correct use of the product and to help you with your bleaching program by taking before and after photos and shades and monitoring your progress. You will need to avoid any foods and drinks that can stain a white top for up to an hour after each take home bleaching session.
We only use Philips Zoom for our in chair and take home whitening (bleaching) options. The in chair option consists of two visits and usually takes about an hour for the actual whitening process, excluding the professional cleaning and impressions, as well as a follow up appointment a week later. The full appointment can take up to 2 hours depending on how much whitening needs to be done in the chair. The second appointment is merely a courtesy one to check on the shade and to make sure we are both happy with the colour. All patients will be given professionally customised and made bleaching trays and will need to do some home bleaching after their in chair procedure.
Instructions for home bleaching again vary from one person to the next depending on the type of stains we are dealing with. The more slow gradual home bleaching that one can do in combination with the in chair whitening the longer the colour holds and the more stable the result. This also means less maintenance in the long run. Think about having to lose 30 kilograms and just expecting to plug yourself into a machine and think your problems have been solved. The slower and the more gradual the process the longer the results.
Most people who haven’t whitened (bleached) their teeth before would need to opt for the full in chair and take home whitening combo. This consists of 3 x 15 minutes of in chair whitening using an LED light and 25% Hydrogen peroxide bleaching gel. You may experience a little sensitivity but this is only temporary and there is no damage to the teeth or their support structures. All Philips Zoom products, including the take home options, are dual-barreled and have a pH of 8, so they are slightly alkaline and actually remineralize the teeth while they are bleaching. The products are extremely stable and don’t have to be refrigerated like all single barreled ampoules on the market.
We also offer whitening options where we do 2 x 15 minutes of whitening in the chair and you do a little bit more bleaching at home than simply a week after the full in chair option. For those that aren’t so good with maintenance we can also offer you a 15 minute in chair touch up every second time you come in for a professional cleaning, just to keep those pearlies looking their best.
We only offer the Philips Zoom teeth whitening products. Zoom is the world’s leading whitening company. Options include:
Day White 9.5% Hydrogen Peroxide (30 minute sessions at home- ideal for achieving the initial bleaching results and maintenance)
Day White 14% Hydrogen Peroxide (15 minute sessions at home- ideal for maintenance after the initial bleaching result has been achieved)
Nite White 10% carbamide Peroxide (6-8hours at night- ideal for achieving the initial bleaching result and maintenance. This is an ideal product for long slow gradual bleaching on stubborn stains such as tetracycline and non vital (dead) teeth.
Philips Zoom Whitespeed using the LED light and 25% Hydrogen Peroxide gel – for full in chair bleaching, combination whitening and in chair touch ups. Each session in the chair takes 15 minutes excluding block out time. A full in chair whitening is 3×15 minutes in one sitting plus block out time)
Yes. Extensive research and clinical studies indicate that teeth whitening under the supervision of a dental professional is safe. Many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available. In 2009 in South Africa it became illegal for anyone other than a dentist or dental hygienist to whiten (bleach) your teeth, regardless of whether the product contains peroxide or not.
Technically, teeth whitening is a process whereby surface stains are removed from your teeth and the tooth looks cleaner but isn’t actually any whiter. Bleaching is a chemical a process that lightens discoloration of enamel and dentine. Basically the staining molecules inside your teeth are decolourised but the actual strength of the tooth is not affected in any way, as long as the materials used are approved and registered with the correct authorities. In South Africa we have to register products with the Medicine Control Council. Products used in spas and beauty salons have not been registered and are being used by people that are not legally allowed to work in your mouth and haven’t been trained.
This depends on the bleaching program that has been customized for you. It could take anything from one appointment followed by a week of home whitening to 3 months of home whitening for example.
It’s common to achieve results 6-8 shades lighter. It depends on what type of stain you have, your dental professional will discuss more with you during your check-up. Everyone achieves a different result, and only 2-3% of people will achieve “Hollywood” whiteness from bleaching alone. Teeth aren’t meant to glow in the dark, so you will still have a natural look after your whitening, but whiter results do require more bleaching. You always need to bleach first and then match new dental work to the desired result rather than trying to match your tooth colour to abnormally whitening dental work. Everyone has a different whitening end point where the teeth stop changing color. This is when you need to stop bleaching and go onto maintenance to avoid damage to the tooth itself, which is just another reason to ensure you have a professional dental clinician guiding you through the process from beginning to end.
For best results it’s very important that your teeth are free of any plaque. Oral health always comes first. You can’t whiten if you have gum disease or large areas of decay for example. Most small fillings can be blocked out and attended to after the whitening, but larger areas of decay can end up causing severe pain and issues with the nerve if ignored. When time allows, we suggest a cleaning a week or 2 before the whitening to allow the gums to settle down, but in some cases this can be done on the same day as the whitening. All our whitening / bleaching options include a cleaning.
How long do teeth whitening results last?
Everything in life requires maintenance. The longer and the slower your initial whitening, the less often you need to maintain. By following the instructions we provide you, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. Some people need to do 30 minutes a month at home using their customise bleaching trays and take home gel, and others can do 2-3 days every few months to maintain. This depends on the amount of coffee, tea, red wine, etc that is consumed on a daily basis as well as your level of oral hygiene. The cleaner the teeth the less chance there is of staining being attached to the tooth surface and getting drawn in and staining the teeth again.
Once you have had your teeth whitened professionally by us, there are things you can do to prevent stains and keep your smile as bright as possible:
Proper dental hygiene can go a long way in keeping your teeth stain-free. Good teeth cleaning habits will fight the presence of cavity causing bacteria and the food debris that leads to yellowing.
Our oral hygienist will provide you with a full list of foods and drinks that you will need to avoid immediately after the in chair whitening. (Don’t worry…it’s only for 24 hours!) Her list also comes complete with delicious menu ideas for the items you can eat and drink!
Teaming up with OptiSmile is the best way to get the teeth whitening results you want. We know your oral health and can make recommendations that allow you to get the best results in a time frame that works for you. We’ll also help you understand how the whitening process works, monitor your progress, and treat any sensitivity issues that may very rarely arise.
Emma King is our teeth whitening specialist. She Heads the Marketing and Training for Philips Zoom Southern Africa and lectures extensively to both dentists and oral hygienists, offering full day hands on whitening courses across the country. Emma has been using Philips products for over 20 years and offers free 15 minute whitening consultations to anyone keen on improving their smile. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or via WhatsApp on 082 8237435.