TEETH WHITENING: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW + OUR BEFORE AND AFTER
AD: teeth whitening gifted - in collaboration with Dr. Kate Yeaton
A few weeks back, dentist Kate Yeaton, shared a post here on todaywelove.uk about sustainable dental products, and here comes another brand new post from her! For the last few weeks we have been seeing Kate, who has been taking care of our teeth health as well as given us a brighter smile. This post will start with Kate sharing some professional advice on what to look out for when choosing your whitening method and treatment. Followed by me (Sara) taking you through our personal experience when whitening our teeth. Make sure to scroll all the way down for before and after images, and to find out how you can win a complimentary whitening treatment with Kate (value = £400)!
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE WHITENING YOUR TEETH
With so many brands claiming to whiten your teeth safely, quickly and cost-effectively, it’s tough to decide which one to opt for and very often the results fall short of what’s promised. In light of this, we sought the advice of a professional, Kate Yeaton, a highly regarded dentist with The Dental Surgery in London.
When you want to whiten your teeth, what should you do?
A consultation with your dentist really is the best place to start. A lot of people think that if they aren’t experiencing any problems with their teeth, they can source teeth whitening products online or in a shop and this will ‘do the trick’. The difficulty is that many of the whitening products available online, in shops, or from people with no medical or dental training are not only ineffective but are also potentially harmful to your health.
What’s the difference between over-the-counter whitening products and those from a dentist?
To effectively whiten your natural teeth, you need a product that contains a bleaching agent. Regulated whitening gel that contains up to 6% hydrogen peroxide (or the equivalent of 16% carbamide peroxide) is both safe and effective, but only available on prescription through a dentist. Over-the-counter products can legally only contain 0.1% hydrogen peroxide which is not enough to effectively whiten your teeth.
What are the risks of using whitening products that aren’t from a dentist?
You could damage your teeth and gums
When you visit a dentist to start your whitening treatment, they will do a full oral examination including an oral cancer screening and x-ray to determine whether your teeth are suitable for treatment. If there is any reason you cannot start your professional whitening, then the dentist will address that first. Treating unhealthy teeth and gums will be the priority for your dentist - having white teeth is aesthetically very pleasing, but your overall dental health must come first.
Unfortunately, despite legislation, there are still many people carrying out whitening treatment using as much as 300 times the legal amount of bleaching agent. A lot of products can also be found online that contain more than the legal limit of peroxide. Using these products can cause blistering and swelling of the mouth, tongue and gums and potentially lead to third-degree burns and tooth sensitivity for life.
You don’t get an even result
It may be that you have veneers, crowns or fillings on your teeth – these won’t whiten along with your natural teeth when using the gel. They need to be treated separately so that you have similar shading on all your teeth.
You don’t get any result
Some products that claim to whiten teeth actually have no ‘active’ ingredients. We recently tested a whitening product that can be bought online which comes with an LED light, a few syringes with a gel mixture, and a one-size-fits-all mouth tray. The gel contained no bleaching agent but did contain sodium bicarbonate and sodium chlorite, effectively baking soda and salt! Our team saw no positive result from testing this product, which isn’t surprising as the most of these ingredients could do would be to remove surface stains. These ingredients, however, are also known to be very abrasive and irreversibly damaging to tooth enamel. It is preferable to attend a dental hygienist who will remove surface stains safely.
What does the process of professional teeth whitening entail?
In order to ensure that your teeth whiten safely, at the first dental consultation impressions are taken for custom trays that fit your teeth perfectly so that the gel you apply stays on your teeth (a lot of the over-the-counter trays don’t fit properly and you run the risk of swallowing a lot of the gel or of it spilling over on to your gums).
Your custom trays will be ready in about 2 weeks at which point the dentist will check the fit and explain the use of the gel. Daily usage for about 2 weeks is recommended. The dentist will take images of your teeth before and after your treatment – sometimes you don’t notice the gradual improvement in the colour of your teeth but when compared to the colour they were when you started the result can be very surprising!
These moulds are of Sara’s teeth, taken by Kate to create her whitening trays.
Is there a quicker way to do this?
Some places offer whitening that shows a perceived immediate result. I say “perceived” because in our experience these treatments dehydrate your teeth so that they look whiter almost immediately, but the whitening effect does not last. In my opinion it’s much better, and safer, to take the route that gradually whitens your teeth. Once you have achieved the desired result you can use the gels less frequently and simply ‘top-up’ your whitening when you need to.
There are so many ways to achieve a healthy-looking bright smile, sometimes all you need to lift your smile is a visit to the hygienist, I firmly believe in presenting all options to my patients and discussing the best way forward for them.
sara and annabell’s experience
We have both used the whitening trays over night for 7 - 10 days, which is less then the recommended time when you first whiten your teeth, yet we have already seen great results!
Our teeth has gotten so much whiter in this short period, and has left us with beautiful bright smiles. The trays are absolutely fine to sleep with, and haven’t interrupted our sleep.
Coffee, tea and red wine slows down the whitening process. We both stayed clear of wine and tea, but being slight coffee addicts - we just couldn’t completely avoid this. A tip is to reduce your daily coffee intake as much as possible, and have your 1-2 cups using a straw. Adding milk to the coffee also helps calming down the strong dark colouring.
Some sensitivity to begin with
The one thing we both noticed is that our teeth did get quite sensitive to start with. Especially after the 2nd and 3rd time of using it. However, once past the 3-day mark the sensitivity disappeared. I, Sara, took a one night break after the 3rd time and after that I experienced no sensitivity what so ever. To help us through the sensitivity-period we were recommended by Kate to use the trays for 30 minutes or so, filled with tooth paste. This definitely helped to calm down the sensitivity.
After I had used the whitening trays for 7 nights in total, I took a longer break due to traveling (with hand luggage only). Once I started again, I did get the same sensitivity sensation after day 3, as if my teeth had re-set. So we recommend doing the full course before stopping for a longer period to avoid having to go through the sensitiv period more than once. Kate recommends using the trays 14 times when you first start to achieve the perfect coulour.
The picture here of me was taken after I had used the whitening trays 7 times over 10 days.
BEFORE AND AFTER
Sara before and after
Here is my before and after shot, after using the whitening 10 times. It’s worth mentioning that I have been using teeth whitening about 7 years ago, so I already had a fairly bright colour. However, this treatment did wonders to my smile in a short time!
I will be taking a small break now due to travelling, but then probably do another week of whitening once I’m back.
Annabell before and after
This is Annabell’s result after using the whitening treatment for a total of 7 nights. This is just half of the recommended time, and you can already see a big improvement to the colour. Annabell was recommended to keep using the whitening treatment for one more week to achieve the optimal result.
Annabell has never used any form of whitening on her teeth before, hence why her starting point was a shade darker than mine.
We are doing a give away with Kate over on instagram account, where the winner get’s free professional teeth whitening including a comprehensive dental examination, your own custom teeth whitening trays and 8 applicators – worth £400!!
2. Tag 2 friends in the comment section of this picture of Annabell and Kate, and let us know one thing that makes you smile :)
The winner will need to claim this treatment before the end of 2019. It is only available with Kate, and if they are not dentally suitable for whitening treatment then we will provide them with an alternative treatment option.
The winner must be able to show up to appointments with Kate at The Dental Surgery in London.
The winner will be picked at random on Friday the 27th at 4pm UK time.