Safe teeth whitening services

Before beginning a teeth whitening treatment, it’s essential for all patients to know there are many reasons your teeth might have become stained, ranging from consumption of wine or coffee to that least avoidable of human frailties — age. 

Many foods and drinks may stain the outermost layer of your teeth, a hard surface called enamel. From coffee to red wine, organic coloured pigments can leave stains that build up over time, fading the white enamel of each tooth. Smoking can also cast a yellow hue onto your teeth, with tar and nicotine buildup leaving a brownish stain.

Frustratingly, some prescription medications also result in discolouration on tooth enamel, including chemotherapy. 

Age, on the other hand, involves the soft area underneath your enamel, called dentin. This layer of the tooth is naturally yellow, and as the hard enamel of your tooth becomes thinner over time with brushing, more dentin will be revealed. Injuries to a tooth may cause the dentin to become darker, resulting in a brown or grey hue appearing through the enamel. 

When you come to City Dentists in Wellington, we will discuss the reasons why your teeth are discoloured before beginning any teeth whitening treatment. Tooth discolouration can happen for a number of reasons. Knowing why your teeth aren’t glistening white will help us decide if and how a whitening treatment can help brighten your smile. 

Whitening that works

At City Dentists in Wellington, our goal is to treat your smile through gentle, safe means. We use a take-home method, creating a custom-made tray for your teeth. You will use the whitening trays at home with a prescribed hydrogen peroxide treatment to safely remove organic stains from your teeth. The tray will help shield your gums from the bleach. We believe this is the most safe and predictable way to a whiter smile. 

Hydrogen peroxide is the only proven tool for removing organic stains from your teeth. There are many commercial whitening gel products on the market, but these are not as closely regulated as professional whitening treatments you will get under our dental care.

There are also many folk wisdoms for how to whiten your smile. As you can read in this NZ Herald article, these include rubbing teeth with a banana peel, applying baking soda to your teeth and using charcoal toothpaste. 

None of these at-home techniques are proven to work. We encourage you to consult your dentist before using any kind of tooth whitening gels available over the counter, as these can damage the enamel of your teeth.

Also, teeth with dental caries or cracks can begin to cause pain if harsh acids or high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are used. It’s essential to resolve these issues with a professional dentist before beginning a whitening treatment. 

Teeth whitening and health

Did you know the enamel, or outer covering of your teeth, is harder than bone?

This smooth surface has no blood supply or nerves. When it becomes chipped or decayed, it will not grow back. 

Enamel is layered atop dentine, which is a more sensitive part of the tooth akin to bone. It covers the root and pulp of the tooth. When enamel is eroded and the dentine layer is more exposed, teeth are at greater risk of decay. 

Bacteria, acid, injury or harsh chemicals can erode the tooth’s enamel and cause sensitivity and pain. Worn down enamel is also more vulnerable to stains from foods.

Pigmented particles in the following foods commonly discolour the tooth enamel:

Tomato Sauce
Soy Sauce
Red Wine

Celebs and teeth whitening:

We are sometimes asked how celebrities keep their teeth so white. Given the number of digitally enhanced smiles we see in print and online media, it’s no surprise that expectations around white smiles are so high.

Many celebrities and other public figures have chosen to install veneers, or porcelain facades permanently attached to their teeth. These veneers do not stain. They also can cover so-called imperfections, like gaps in the teeth or teeth which have been shortened from grinding. Veneers are very expensive, costing thousands of dollars per tooth. So unless you’ve saved up for a few years for this kind of cosmetic dentistry, it’s best to set this unrealistic celeb standard aside.

That said, it is wise to invest in a professional smile that gives you confidence. Research shows that employers, colleagues and clients are likely to have better first impressions of people who share their genuine smiles. Bleaching your teeth under the direction of a professional dentist team like City Dentists may help.

Expectations and costs of teeth whitening:

We generally see our teeth whitening results last at least six months and up to several years. How well you care for your teeth, as well as the foods you eat, will factor into how long the whitening results last. We can discuss any questions about your hygiene and diet at your office visit.

Please contact us today to book an appointment at our dental clinic. Our staff will help you with gentle teeth whitening services that will lead to a winning, professional smile at a reasonable cost.