free tracking

Teeth Whitening 101



Teeth Whitening Facts


Teeth Whitening





Why should I consider having a whiter smile?

It's quite simple. Your teeth need care and attention like any other part of your body. Over a period of time, teeth can become dull and yellow due to constant wear and staining (or you may have experienced discoloration due to disease or genetic influences). Brushing your teeth will help to keep them healthy and clean, but it won't necessarily keep them white and shiny.

And studies show that white, shiny teeth tend to enhance our self-esteem and confidence – and frequently make us look younger than people who don't whiten.

In addition to the aesthetic reasons, it is also true those people who have whitened their teeth may develop better oral care habits overall, such as:

  • A greater awareness of their teeth and the need to be more compliant with their oral hygiene routine, including daily care and routine professional cleanings.
  • Are more open to additional cosmetic dental procedures including replacing restorations and crowns and considering veneers.
  • Typically have healthier gums and fresher breath.

Genetics: Your teeth may be shining white or have a shade of yellow. It all depends on your genes. If you are lucky enough, you might be be born with a nice set of white teeth. People with genetic problems have teeth that appear yellow or discolored. This is usually a result of the color in the dentin.

Physical causes: There can be various causes behind discoloration of your teeth. Teeth can become stained due to smoking, medications, tea, coffee, cigarettes and other tobacco products. Even soft drinks like cola can cause teeth to be stained.

Stained and discolored teeth look ugly and affect your appearance and personality. Teeth whitening can help you get back your naturally white teeth.

Studies have shown that not only do people who have whiter teeth look younger than people who don’t, but there is a correlation between high self-esteem and a white, confident smile. In addition to the aesthetic reasons, it is also true those people who have whitened their teeth:

– Develop a greater awareness of their teeth and become more compliant with their oral hygiene routine, including daily care and routine professional cleanings.

– Are more open to additional cosmetic dental procedures including replacing restorations and crowns and considering veneers.


What causes tooth staining and discoloration?

There are many reasons why your teeth lose their whiteness. The most common reasons for dental discoloration are:

Genetics: Normal teeth may be shining white or even have a pale undertone of yellow, brown or grey, or they may be more severely stained; it all depends on your genes. Visible discoloration due to genetic dental abnormalities generally occurs in a tooth's "dentin," the material that lies beneath a tooth's enamel surface. These can sometimes be improved by whitening, sometimes not.

Physical causes: Everyday wear and tear and illness can also cause teeth to stain. Regular use of cola drinks, medications, tea, coffee, cigarettes and other tobacco products may cause surface staining, however, people with this normal kind of discoloration are good candidates for teeth whitening, except in specific instances.


What methods are available for teeth whitening?

There are many methods available for teeth whitening, but most break down into one of two major categories: procedures administered or prescribed by a dentist and do-it-yourself (DIY) whitening with over-the-counter whitening products.

Dentist-Administered or Prescribed Procedures

  • Laser or LED-light activated one-hour bleaching
  • Non-Light Activated in-office bleaching
  • Deep Bleaching (a combination of in-office and take-home whitening procedures)
  • Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits with Custom-Fit Mouth Trays

Do-it-Yourself Whitening Procedures

  • Whitening Toothpastes
  • Brush-on Whiteners
  • Whitening Strips
  • Whitening Kits with Custom, Boil & Bite or Stock Mouth Trays

Hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide are the two kinds of peroxide used for bleaching teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is a very strong whitening agent that needs to be fresh to deliver its full power – and requires dental supervision to be correctly applied. Carbamide peroxide is a more user-friendly, shelf-stable version of hydrogen peroxide – meaning that it isn't quite as strong and can be kept fresh for a longer time than hydrogen peroxide – an important consideration, especially for do-it-yourselfers purchasing pre-packaged kits.

For people with more difficult staining or who have additional dental issues (such as badly formed or cracked teeth), it is also possible to whiten teeth using some sort of cosmetic restoration. Bonding, veneers, and crowns can be used to whiten teeth if the desired shade cannot be achieved with bleaching. Many Hollywood celebrities who have gleaming white teeth have had veneers applied. It is important to note that cosmetic restorations should be a last resort. People with tetracycline-stained teeth often choose veneers because it's very difficult to get rid of the grey hue. However, a new bleaching method called Deep Bleaching has been showing promise for tetracycline-stained teeth.




What teeth whitening products and procedures are available?

You can select from a number of products and procedures available for teeth whitening.

Brush-on teeth whitening: It is the easiest and simplest form of teeth whitening. You just brush your teeth using a brush-on teeth whitening product and wear the product overnight. It is usally ineffective.

Whitening Strips: There are many brand name teeth whitening strips available in the market. These strips can be applied to your teeth and over a period of time the bleaching action will whiten them. 

Teeth Whitening ToothpastesWhitening toothpastes can help a bit, but since it is only an abrasive, it can only remove surface stains. True teeth whitening happens through the enamel and dentin that usually requires a stronger peroxide solution than that found in toothpastes. 
Read our article about whitening toothpastes.

At-Home Kits: There are many at-home kits available for teeth whitening, such as trays, strips and gels. These products can be quite effective when used precisely according to their directions. They are also less expensive than dentist-prescribed methods of teeth whitening. 

Custom At-Home Kits: Purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a dentist, these kinds of kits feature custom-made mouth trays fitted to your own mouth. Custom at-home kits can be very effective when used precisely according to their directions. 

Or you can make an appointment or consultation with your dentist

Dental visits: Visiting your dentist will ensure that you choose the best, most effective whitening method for your specific needs. The dentist will either suggest a light-activated, non-light activated or take-home procedure, depending on your overall oral health and budget. Your dentist can also help you select the proper shade of tooth whitening and monitor sensitivity issues – both important to successful results.



Is teeth whitening really safe for my Salon/Spa?
Yes, years of teeth whitening treatments in dental offices have proven that it is safe. Occasionally, problems such as teeth sensitivity (mild or moderate) or gum irritations may be experienced. If this happens, the frequency of use should be reduced. People who do experience teeth sensitivity will notice that it normally subsides quickly following completion of treatment.

What about professional Liability?

Connecticut White Smile's process is essentially self-administered. It is not a dental procedure. Because it is self-administered, there is less inherent liability than with other spa or salon procedures, such as hair tinting, facials, or body waxing. Your operators will be training on how to instruct your clients on how to administer the treatment. It is the client that applies the product, not the operator.

How does the whitening treatment work?

First, the depressions of the teeth are taken using a “tray” filled with a special compound. After shaping the tray for upper and lower teeth, the whitening gel which contains an active ingredient hydrogen peroxide and photo-Ion are applied to the trays. The tray is inserted into the mouth and left in place for 15 minutes.

What occurs during whitening?

During the teeth whitening process, the active ingredient in the gel, hydrogen peroxide, is broken down to water and oxygen, oxygen enters the tooth enamel. This bleaches embedded discolored substances (stains). The structure of the tooth is not changed; only the tooth enamel stain is changed and becomes a lighter and whiter shade.

How long will it take until my teeth are whiter?
Whitening results often become apparent during the first treatment. Typically, the whitening effect becomes even more evident after a second treatment. Teeth will continue to whiten, to a degree, with each successive treatment.

How long will the results last?

Individual’s results will vary depending on the consumer's habits, their unique dental make-up, age, and genetics. It is safe to say that the initial results will last the average consumer up to two years. Over time, and for the very same reasons that caused the teeth to discolor in the first place, the consumer will notice their teeth darkening again. When this happens, your client can simply repeat their salon or spa procedure and the teeth will be restored back to their brilliant white color.  Consumers who smoke cigarettes or drink heavy quantities of dark, acidic liquids like coffee, tea, red wine, colas, etc. will have to touch up their teeth more often than people who do not.
What are the results for most people?

Although results vary, in our experience backed by studies, they show that 90% to 95% of people experience some level of whitening. We have experienced up to 7 shades in one 15 minute Salon/Spa Cosmetic Whitening procedure
Are there any adverse side effects?

There are relatively few side effects from tooth whitening. A very small percentage of consumers may experience some sensitivity during a whitening procedure. This discomfort typically goes away within 24-48 hours after discontinuing the whitening, is minimized with our technology because we use a smaller percentage of peroxide and our treatment last less than thirty minutes. This minimizes long term exposure to the gel.

Will fillings and crowns be affected by the whitening?

While hydrogen peroxide will have no negative effect on the integrity of fillings and crowns, the simple fact is that these materials will not whiten in any type of bleaching procedure. However, the peroxide will remove staining from composite materials.

Is whitening for everyone?

Pregnant and nursing mothers, children under the age of 14, and diabetics should consult their physician prior to undergoing any whitening procedure. Consumers with severely tetracycline stained teeth may opt for a more aggressive cosmetic procedure like bonding and veneers.

Do people need touch-ups?

After initial treatment, some people do touch-ups every 3-6 months based on the amount of stain producing substances to which they are exposed. The CTWS is a professional whitening system using light and not a "supermarket" tooth whitening kit. It is considerably stronger and more effective.  The active ingredient in the whitening gel, Hydrogen peroxide, is milder than the Professional Dental Office strength with Photo-Ion initiators for faster whitening with less sensitivity in less time.






This is a short check list of things you need to consider before you decide on a teeth whitening treatment. Once you’re up to speed with the main things to think about you can explore the issues in more detail throughout the website.

Should I be whitening my teeth?

Not everyone’s teeth are suitable for whitening. If your teeth and gums are not in a healthy condition before you whiten, the procedure may cause more damage. Even if there is nothing wrong with your teeth there may be other reasons why whitening won’t work.

How can I find out if my teeth are suitable for whitening?

The safest way to work out if your teeth are suitable for whitening is to see your dentist first. Dentists are the only people trained and qualified to make an accurate assessment of your teeth and gums.

What should a proper assessment include?

Your dentist will check for things like enamel thickness, receding gums, existing sensitivity, existing tooth decay, existing restorations (e.g. fillings, crowns and veneers), any other oral diseases or conditions. He will also assess the cause of discolouration, (e.g. diet, ageing etc.) and whether it is on the surface or inside the teeth. Only a qualified dentist is able to carry out these checks and then recommend a suitable whitening treatment.

What can go wrong?

For many people teeth whitening poses no serious risk if done correctly. However, if you choose the wrong treatment for your teeth or that treatment is applied incorrectly (e.g. whitening products are often used too frequently or applied for too long a time) then some damage can occur. You can read more about this here but the main problems and side-effects can be:

  • Reduction in the hardness and strength of enamel
  • Damaged and inflamed gums
  • Blistering
  • Severe tooth sensitivity
  • Irritation and possibly bleeding in the oesophagus and stomach if some of the bleaching agent is ingested
  • If you have crowns, veneers or fillings these will not change colour at all after bleaching so you could end up with multicoloured teeth
  • On the product side, some whitening treatments are very highly concentrated and are well over the officially recommended level of 6% for the active whitening ingredient. Find out what’s in the product you want to use as they can range from 3% to 35%!

What results can I expect?

Depending on the cause of the discolouration results can range from impressive to disappointing so it’s important to understand what can reasonably be achieved before you go ahead with any whitening procedure. The reality is that most people will achieve a one or two shade change but many will see no change at all. What works for one person will not work for another. Again, your dentist will be able to advise you.

Teeth Whitening Checklist

If you’re keen to improve the whiteness of your teeth, go through these steps so you can be sure you have chosen the right treatment. It could save you from unnecessary pain and possibly irreparable damage to your mouth.

  • Have you tried other ways to whiten your teeth without using a chemical treatment, like having a professional scale and clean by your dentist and maintaining good oral hygiene habits?
  • Have you consulted your dentist and had your teeth assessed for suitability to be whitened?
  • Has your dentist recommended a course of action or specific treatment?
  • Do you understand exactly how to use a treatment you will be applying at home?
  • Are you fully aware of the potential side effects of whitening?
  • Are you fully aware of the kind of results you can expect?

Please ensure you have satisfactory answers to all these questions before you undertake any teeth whitening procedure.


Whitening the natural way

There are a couple of easy and cost effective ways to keep your teeth looking whiter and brighter, naturally. Chairman of the ADA’s Oral Health Committee, Dr Peter Alldritt, says the best way to keep a healthy white smile is to maintain good oral health.

“Practising good oral hygiene is a basic way to assist in making your teeth look whiter naturally.” “Brushing and flossing your teeth daily assists in removing surface stains on your teeth,” Dr Alldritt says.

For healthier and better looking teeth, you should:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes using a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss your teeth daily
  • Chew sugar-free gum if advised by your dentist
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Consume a sensible diet
  • Visit your dentist regularly for a professional clean

What to avoid:

Extrinsic stains are superficial stains found on the surface of the tooth, which are caused by dental plaque, tars (in tobacco), tannins, coloured foods and frequent use of certain mouthwashes. Common foods and beverages that stain teeth include:

  • herbal and black tea
  • coffee
  • red wine
  • spicy foods like curries

Smoking cigarettes also causes unsightly stains on teeth, which can be extremely difficult to remove.

Extrinsic stains on the tooth’s surface can be removed by a dentist performing a professional scale and clean.



Enhanced by Zemanta