A super-bright white smile was once called a ‘Hollywood smile’ because it was only celebrities with blindingly white teeth. But now, teeth whitening treatments are more popular than ever, with everyone wanting a brighter smile and perfect teeth. But if you can’t afford to spend hundreds on a clinic treatment, what about the DIY options? If you’re looking for the best at-home teeth whitening products, read my guide to getting it right.
I spoke to Dr Annie, Cosmetic Restorative Dentist at American Smile to find out everything you should know before you get your teeth whitened:
Q: What are the most common methods of at-home teeth whitening?
A: ‘The most common methods of at home whitening involve the use of custom-made trays with either carbamide peroxide (night gel) overnight or hydrogen peroxide (day gel) for one hour per day. The most common time frame for doing this is 2-3 weeks.’
Q: Is it possible to get great results at home?
A: ‘Yes! This often involves whitening every day for an extended period of time with the night gel technique and avoiding foods and drinks which stain teeth such as tea, coffee and red wine for as long as possible after whitening.’
Q: What damage can these treatments cause?
A: ‘Studies have shown that a single whitening session, either one hour per day with day gel or the use of the night gel overnight causes the same damage to enamel as drinking one can of Coca-Cola. Therefore, it is slightly acidic to the teeth, it can leave them sensitive to hot and cold for up to three days after whitening stops but it won’t cause any long term harm unless it is used excessively.’
Q: What are the big no-nos when it comes to teeth whitening?
A: ‘The big no-nos when it comes to teeth whitening include using off the shelf or over the internet whitening products, having home-made whitening trays and drinking coffee, tea and red wine or other teeth staining products for around 24 hours after you finish whitening. If you have veneers, crowns or fillings on your front teeth they will not whiten.’
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: ‘The only other thing to note is that you need your teeth and gums checked prior to whitening to ensure your mouth is healthy.’
The alternative? An in-clinic treatment. Dr Annie recommends Philips Zoom! in-surgery whitening, which takes only one hour for a whiter, brighter smile. ‘Zoom! whitening is fast, with good results, but isn’t as long-lasting as other treatments so we usually provide you with a combination of in-surgery and take-home whitening for the best possible results.’
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