Teeth Whitening FAQ's

Do you have a special event coming up, Wedding? Holiday? Or just want a brighter smile? The highly trained Dentists and Staff at Butler Dental can help you!

Should I whiten my teeth?

Teeth whitening is not for everyone. Before choosing to whiten your teeth it is important to see one of the Dentists at Butler Dental to determine if your teeth are suitable for the treatment. Teeth whitening is not recommended for everyone because of various issues relating to gum and tooth sensitivity, the natural colour of a person’s teeth and presence of fillings, crowns and veneers.

Unlike many untrained operators offering teeth whitening treatments, only dentists can assess a person’s suitability for the treatment. Without a proper assessment it is not possible to rule out any permanent side effects or other risks associated with the process.

If administered by untrained individuals, whitening procedures can cause discoloured teeth, heightened tooth sensitivity and gum problems. Its therefore very important to get a thorough dental examination before any tooth whitening

When assessing your teeth for whitening, your dentist will:

  • Ensure your mouth is healthy before whitening commences
  • Look for grey or yellow discolouration and diagnose the cause of any discolouration
  • Discuss with you the best method to whiten your teeth
  • Advise if there are factors which may influence the whitening process (e.g. antibiotic staining)
  • Assess whether your fillings, crowns and veneers need replacement (as these won’t change colour)
  • Identify areas of gum recession
  • Discuss possible tooth sensitivity and how it may be managed.

Teeth whitening should only be carried out on people who have their adult teeth, unless otherwise advised by a dentist and should only be carried out on patients over 18.

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 speak to one of the Dentists at Butler Dental 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. The dentist 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.

It is also very important to have a thorough dental hygiene visit ( scale and clean) before any whitening is commenced

At Butler Dental we carry out "at home" bleaching using Pola Products. We use the recommended level of 6% for the active whitening ingredient.


Frequently Asked Questions about teeth whitening

Q. How long will the whitening treatment last?

A. This depends on the patient and their oral habits. The average person will require periodic touch ups once or twice a year using a take home system. Without a touch up, your teeth will start to re-stain by the same things that caused them to discolour in the first place. Speak to your dentist to discuss touch up options.

Q. Can we predict a result?

A. Not all cases are predictable. Speak to your dentist to discuss the cause of staining and which type of whitening would be best suitable to your needs.

Q. Is the treatment safe?

A. Yes. Clinical studies have shown that bleaching with Carbamide or hydrogen peroxide under the instruction of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums.

Q. Are there any side effects?

A. For patients who follow the instructions from their dentist and the Instructions for Use that come with the Pola products, the majority will have no side effects. However, some will experience temporary sensitivity (dull or sharp, sensitivity to hot or cold). This will subside after several hours of stopping the treatment and won’t leave any residual problems. The wear times can be shortened or made less frequent or teeth can be treated with a desensitizer, SDI Soothe. Abstain from carbonated drinks, citrus foods and beverages to avoid sensitivity.

Q. How long does it take to whiten my teeth?

A. Using a take home whitening system, whitening can take approximately 5 – 14 days with the patient performing the treatment in the comfort of their own home.

Q. Will my teeth just keep getting whiter the longer I use the gel?

A. No – they will reach a plateau, your teeth cannot whiten past their natural shade. Whitening should be discontinued when the teeth do not appear to change any further or when desired shade is reached. It is important to follow instructions from your dentist. Using whitening products for longer than instructed can have harmful effects on the tooth structure. It is recommended to take photographs of teeth pre-treatment to use as a comparison throughout the whitening process.

Q. How can I tell my teeth are getting whiter with take home whitening?

A. It can be hard to notice a change in shade when using a take home whitening system. It is recommended to take photographs of teeth pre-treatment to use as a comparison throughout the whitening process.

Q. What if I have restorations in my teeth, will these change colour?

A. Whitening will only remove any existing stains on the restorations but it will not change their original shade. The restorations will only need to be changed if the whitened teeth are lighter.