Teeth Whitening Sydney – How does it work?

Teeth Whitening in Sydney is popular due to the beach culture and image conscious lifestyle, but how does it work and is teeth whitening safe? Darlinghurst Dental offers a number of teeth whitening options that are safe and effective. We have options for different timescales and different budgets.

How are my teeth whitened for in-chair whitening with Philips Zoom! Whitening?

You can safely do teeth whitening in our Sydney based dental practice. We are located in Darlinghurst, close to the Sydney CBD. Doing whitening in the dental chair at the clinic is called in-office whitening, or in-chair whitening. We use the Philips Zoom! Whitening in-chair whitening system. The teeth are whitened using a hydrogen peroxide based gel. The dose of this (25%) is high enough to injure the soft tissues if not used correctly. This is why this treatment is limited to dental professionals and is not recommended at home or in a non dental setting. The higher strength leads to faster, more profound results, but it can lead to some sensitivity. There are other systems available, using the same active ingredient and the light is not necessary to get results, but helps to get the optimum results. In the past a UV light was used, but due to UV light being damaging, we do not use a UV light, using more modern WhiteSpeed technology.

Matching Your Current Tooth Colour Shade to Measure Whitening Results

The dentist will apply some guards to your lips, cheeks and gums to protect them. The gel is applied to your teeth and then a Philips WhiteSpeed light is placed over your mouth to help activate the gel. This light is very bright, so you wear safety glasses to protect your eyes. The light stays on for 15 minutes, which is the amount of time the gel will remain active. The whitening agent penetrates into the tooth and breaks down the chromaphores, the discoloured parts, that build up in our teeth. Some of the whitening agent will get all the way to the pulp of the tooth, but not enough that causes any long term harm. In fact we naturally produce hydrogen peroxide in our body so you cannot be allergic to it. You can get sensitivity in the teeth, though. This can be in the form of “zingers” a short sharp reaction, like when you have cold drinks or ice cream. It can also be a sensitivity to hot and cold food a drinks for a time afterwards. Using sensitive toothpaste or a remineralising agent can help to prevent sensitivity before whitening, so if you plan to whiten, you can start using sensitive toothpaste today, to prevent problems when you start.

The gel is then replaced after 15 minutes and the light is reactivated. This is redone every 15 minute for a total of 4 sessions at once. Sometimes, if sensitive, or you don’t want to go too white, less sessions are carried out. At the end, a desensitising agent is applied to the teeth. You can drink water and it is advisable to do so, as your mouth and teeth will be a bit dehydrated after staying open with a light on them for an hour. Youshould  avoid eating for 30-60 minutes, while your saliva recreates a protective barrier, the pellicle, over the teeth. It is recommended to avoid heavily stained food for the next 24-48 hours and best results are obtained by having white foods, such as chicken, fish, potato, rice etc. for the rest of the day. Smoking, coffee and red wine in particular should be avoided for the first 4 hours, ideally for the first 24 hours. We take a photo before and after for you to compare results and we email it to you. These photos will both have a fake tooth shade guide tab, matched to your initial colour.

In chair teeth whitening costs $650 and takes approximately 90 minutes, one hour of which is the active whitening. We provide free before and after picture. Book a free consultation now!

How does take home whitening work? Is it still Philips Zoom?

For take home whitening, you can get the same results as in-chair whitening, but it takes longer and is more hassle. You need to wear a custom tray with the whitening agent in the tray for a number of days or weeks. There are different doses and systems available for either daytime or nighttime wear. The slower the release of the whitening agent, the less sensitivity you get from whitening. For those with sensitive teeth, whitening at home can be less intense than in-chair whitening. The nighttime whitening is slowest release and leads to the least sensitivity. The slow release active ingredient for night whitening is Carbamide Peroxide, which breaks down to form hydrogen peroxide, the active form. The longer contact time also leads to faster results for the same equivalent dose of active peroxide agent. Ideally for night time wear, the trays should be worn for 6 or more hours at a time. For daytime wear, the trays should be worn for a minimum of 15 minutes, but 30 minutes is better. They are active for up to an hour, but most of the effect occurs in the first 30 minutes.

Applying Whitening gel into a custom tray at home

For custom trays, the dentist will take moulds, called impressions, of your teeth. This is used to make a stone model of your teeth and custom soft rubber guards that fit over your teeth are vacuum moulded to your model. A small spacer is kept to allow space for the whitening gel. The tray is trimmed to follow the contour of your gums. After it is manufactured, which can take hours, to weeks depending on laboratory availability, you return to have the fit checked and get the gel. We provide a shade guide to take home, so you can monitor your progess over time. We use Philips Zoom! Day Whitening and Philips Zoom! Night Whitening gels, as they contain ACP, a desensitising agent.

Take Home Whitening costs $400. Book an appointment to see a dentist to start your whitening journey!

Are there any other whitening options?

There is also an option of prefabricated trays, which are not custom made. These are stock trays that should fit most people, but not as snugly. The results are thus less predictable and they are more cumbersome to use, but as there is no custom impressions or fabrication, they are cheaper. We stock Opalescence Go stock trays. They can be purchased over that counter without seeing a dentist, however we always recommend that you have a full check and clean prior to any whitening, for best results, safety and least side effects.

There have been many cases of people trying to whiten without the care of a dental professional. Sydney teeth whitening is regulated under NSW and Australian law to ensure it is safely carried out. We recommend always seeking the advice of your dentist prior to any whitening. Darlinghurst Dental offer a free consultation for teeth whitening to ensure you are suitable. Teeth whitening will not change the colour of any restorations such as composite fillings, veneers, crowns or bondings. If these are present on your front teeth, be aware you may get a colour mismatch, meaning they need to be replaced afterwards.