woman smiling white teeth

Teeth whitening gels and common misconceptions

There are several methods used for teeth whitening Harley Street, but the biggest factor is the peroxide concentration, which affects how these methods are used, how your teeth will look and what you should expect concerning side effects.

A high concentration is not always helpful and here, some of the common perceptions about the pros and cons are explored.

If you have an outstanding dental issue like cavities, gum disease or receding gums which have revealed the dentine of your teeth, whitening is not recommended. The process of lighting teeth chemically changes the properties of the enamel, making it more porous and if you have a history of sensitive teeth, whitening can aggravate it.

The misconceptions

Whitening toothpaste does the same thing as whitening gels

Almost all whitening toothpastes that you can purchase have an active abrasive, but whitening gels contain a bleaching agent that lightens the enamel chemically.

Tooth whitening is permanent

The results you get from whitening your teeth will fade over time, reverting to your original shade or slightly lighter. If you wish to maintain a lighter shade you’ll have to re-bleach. You can maximise the effect of professional lightening by avoiding black coffee and not smoking.

All gel preparations are the same

In the UK, only an 8% concentration gel is approved for home use. In a dental clinic, gels can range from 35-45%. This is a huge change that allows an hour of treatment in the surgery to achieve the same effect as 8 weeks of at-home whitening.

Crowns, fillings and veneers will all be lightened along with the rest of my teeth

This is a half-truth; yes the porcelain and artificial enamel used in crowns, veneers and white fillings will be affected, but are designed to be stain-resistant. Therefore, they are resistant to bleaching and will not lighten at the same rate as the rest of your teeth, making them more noticeable.

The high concentration gels will get my teeth the whitest

The higher the concentration, the faster it will act, so if you wish to lighten by multiple shades quickly you will need a high concentration gel, but a long treatment period with an 8% gel can achieve the same results.

All teeth whiten the same

There seem to be some genetic factors which determine how effective whitening is. Most people who seek out tooth whitening start with discoloured teeth, with yellow discolouration seemingly more amenable to treatment with bleaching than grey staining.

woman getting dental work done

The kits you can get from the dentists are the same as the ones you can order online

When using a home whitening kit it will come with a gel tray, which you wear in your mouth when sleeping. The best kits come with three sizes to try to accommodate as many people as possible. When getting a kit from your dentist, they will make a gel tray for you and therefore it will be a perfect fit, reducing night time gel leaking and improving the treatment.

It takes weeks for whitening to be effective or noticeable

This is true for home kits, but if you wish the change to be gradual and natural-looking, this could be desirable. This statement is not true for whitening performed in a clinic.

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