a doctor performing cosmetic dental procedures on a lady patient

Teeth whitening is a popular dental treatment aimed at removing discoloration and stains to restore or enhance the natural brightness of teeth. Understanding the underlying causes, available treatments, and considerations for teeth whitening can help you make informed decisions about improving your smile.



Understanding Teeth Discolouration

Discolouration can be caused by a variety of factors including dietary habits, oral hygiene, certain medications like tetracycline, or physical damage to the teeth. Some discolorations may be superficial, while others can be intrinsic, affecting the inner structure of the tooth​.


Professional Teeth Whitening Options



In-Clinic Whitening

Professional in-clinic treatments are the most effective option, using strong hydrogen peroxide gels applied by a dental practitioner. This method may also involve a light source to activate the gel, providing immediate results​1​. It’s important to note that only registered dental practitioners can use gels containing more than 6% hydrogen peroxide due to safety regulations in Australia​.


Take-Home Kits from Dentists

Dentists can also provide custom-fitted take-home kits with a suitable gel strength. These involve wearing trays filled with whitening gel for prescribed periods. This option is safe and effective under the guidance of a dental professional.


Internal Bleaching

For teeth that have discoloured due to internal factors, such as after a root canal treatment, internal bleaching may be an option. This involves placing the whitening agent inside the tooth and is followed by a standard filling procedure​1​.

Risks and Considerations

Teeth whitening is not suitable for everyone. Those with sensitive teeth, gum disease, or restorations like crowns, veneers, or fillings may not be candidates for certain whitening procedures. Additionally, whitening treatments may lead to temporary sensitivity or gum irritation. Overuse or incorrect application can lead to more serious damage to the tooth enamel​1​.

Over-the-Counter and DIY Whitening Kits

These kits typically contain lower concentrations of peroxides and may include mouldable trays, bleaching chemicals, and sometimes a light to activate the process. Despite their accessibility, these products come with risks such as gum irritation and enamel damage if not used correctly​3​.

The Unregulated Whitening Industry

Teeth whitening services provided outside of a dental practice are largely unregulated in Australia. These include treatments offered in beauty salons and kiosks, which might not always adhere to safety standards, leading to potential oral health issues​3​.

Alternatives to Whitening Treatments

To maintain or improve tooth colour, regular dental cleanings, using whitening toothpaste, and avoiding staining foods or habits like smoking can be effective. Dental treatments such as veneers or crowns can also address discolouration​1​.

Costs and Outcomes

Professional whitening can range from $300 to over $1000, while over-the-counter options are generally cheaper. It’s crucial to balance cost with safety and effectiveness. The ADA recommends consulting with a registered dental practitioner before undergoing any whitening treatment to ensure it is appropriate and safe for your individual needs​3​.

In conclusion

The most effective teeth whitening option depends on individual needs, the cause of discolouration, and the health of one’s teeth. It is vital to consult with a dental professional to determine the best and safest approach for achieving a whiter smile. Remember, a healthy smile is not just about the colour of your teeth, but also about maintaining good oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups.

At Dentists In Annerley, QLD, Australia, we pride ourselves on setting the highest standard of patient care, ensuring an experience that fuses comfort with unmatched dental health services. Our clinic acts as an oasis for advanced periodontal treatments, performed with precision and a delicate touch to guarantee the best oral health outcomes for our patients. Centrally located for Annerley residents and those from surrounding suburbs, we invite individuals from Woolloongabba, Greenslopes, Fairfield, Yeronga, Moorooka, Tarragindi, Holland Park, West End, Highgate Hill, Dutton Park, Coorparoo, Carina Heights, Mount Gravatt, East Brisbane, and Stones Corner to partake in exceptional dental care. Our dedication to oral health is solid, with a personalized approach to periodontal care that is aimed at enhancing both the resilience and aesthetics of our patients’ smiles.

In the bustling environment of Annerley and its nearby areas, Dentists In Annerley emerges as a haven of dental health and well-being. We address a broad range of dental needs, from routine examinations and cleanings to emergency dental treatments, all the while utilizing modern CEREC technology for immediate ceramic restorations. Our broad suite of services spans root canal therapies, wisdom tooth extractions, and the creation of tailored veneers, crowns, and implants, in addition to specializing in periodontics, pediatric dentistry, and orthodontic aligners. Our facility is equipped with contemporary X-ray machinery, ensuring an expedient and accurate diagnostic and treatment journey. We have meticulously designed every aspect of our practice to optimize the efficiency, thoroughness, and comfort of your visit.

The guiding principle at Dentists In Annerley is the belief that exemplary dental care should be within reach for everyone. We are committed to offering a comprehensive variety of dental services that cater to the varied dental concerns of our patients. From preventive maintenance to the craftsmanship of cosmetic dentistry, and the detailed care required for complex dental treatments, our team at Dentists In Annerley is steadfast in their quest for dental excellence. This dedication is apparent in our gentle demeanor and the detailed attention we apply in each treatment, ensuring every patient leaves with a smile that is as radiant in appearance as it is in health.

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Frequently Ask Questions

Teeth discolouration can be due to several factors, which can be classified into extrinsic, intrinsic, and age-related causes. Extrinsic discolouration is when the enamel, the outer layer of the tooth, is stained by foods, drinks (like coffee, wine, cola), and smoking. Intrinsic discolouration happens when the dentin, the inner structure of the tooth, darkens or takes a yellow tone, which can be due to excessive fluoride exposure, use of certain medications, or trauma. Age-related discolouration is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors, as the dentin naturally yellows over time and the enamel thins, making the teeth appear darker​.

Yes, teeth stains are commonly divided into extrinsic and intrinsic categories. Extrinsic stains are on the outer surface of the tooth and are often caused by dietary choices or smoking. Intrinsic stains are located within the tooth’s structure and can be caused by various factors, including medication use during tooth formation or trauma. Over time, ageing can also cause the teeth to darken as enamel thins and dentin becomes more visible​

Professional teeth whitening typically involves the use of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are bleaching agents that break stains into smaller pieces, making the colour less concentrated and your teeth brighter. This process is best performed by dental professionals, as they can use higher concentrations of these substances safely and provide immediate results​

In-chair whitening, also known as in-office teeth whitening, is performed by a dentist in the dental clinic. This treatment uses a strong hydrogen peroxide gel, which is often activated by a light source placed over the teeth. Patients usually leave the dental appointment with significantly whiter teeth, and the dentist may suggest take-home treatments to maintain the whitening effect​

Yes, dentists can provide take-home whitening kits that come with custom-fitted trays and whitening gel. These are used at home under the dentist’s instructions, typically involving wearing the trays with the gel for a specified amount of time. Although the process is slower than in-chair treatments, it allows patients to maintain or further the whitening effects at home

Internal bleaching is a procedure used to whiten a tooth from the inside out. It is typically used for a tooth that has undergone a root canal treatment and has discoloured due to internal factors. A dentist places the whitening agent inside the tooth, and it is left there for several days before being cleaned out and the tooth is restored with a filling. This procedure can only be performed by a dental professional and may be followed by the placement of a crown or veneer

No, teeth whitening is not suitable for everyone. People with sensitive teeth, gum disease, or restorations such as crowns, veneers, or fillings are not ideal candidates for certain whitening treatments. Pregnant or breastfeeding women are also advised against undergoing teeth whitening. A dental professional is best placed to assess individual suitability for the procedure​

The use of teeth whitening procedures is generally discouraged for pregnant or breastfeeding women. This cautionary approach is because there has not been sufficient research to confirm the safety of bleaching substances during pregnancy and lactation. The potential risk of ingesting bleaching agents or having them absorbed into the body and affecting the fetus or breast milk is a concern

Yes, one of the common side effects of teeth whitening is increased tooth sensitivity, especially to cold temperatures. This occurs because the bleaching agents used in the whitening process can penetrate the enamel and irritate the dentin layer underneath. Sensitivity typically diminishes a few days after the treatment. Dentists can provide advice on managing and reducing sensitivity

Teeth whitening treatments are designed to lighten the natural enamel of the teeth and will not affect the colour of porcelain crowns, veneers, or composite resin (white) fillings. If these restorations no longer match the whiter natural teeth after the treatment, they may need to be replaced to ensure a uniform appearance​

Suitability for teeth whitening depends on the nature of the discolouration and the condition of the teeth. Extrinsic stains, which are on the outer surface, can be removed through professional cleaning or whitening treatments. Intrinsic staining, inside the tooth’s structure, may require internal treatment. It’s important to consult with a dentist, who can assess your specific situation and determine the best approach based on the type of discolouration, overall oral health, and presence of restorations like fillings, crowns, or veneers

Teeth whitening is not permanent; it can last from several months to up to three years, but this varies from person to person. The whitening effect won’t last as long if you smoke, or consume a lot of foods and beverages that can stain teeth​

The frequency of whitening treatments should be determined by a dental professional. Overuse of whitening products can lead to tooth damage. Typically, professional in-office whitening may be done once a year, with at-home maintenance as recommended by your dentist​

Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits are generally safe when used as directed; however, they carry risks if used improperly. These include tooth sensitivity and damage to the enamel and gums. It is advisable to use these products under the guidance of a dentist​

DIY teeth whitening methods, such as using baking soda, can help manage light extrinsic stains but are not recommended for deep or intrinsic stains. Using these methods improperly can lead to damaged enamel, sensitivity, and uneven whitening. It’s always safer to seek professional advice before trying DIY whitening​

The cost of professional teeth whitening in Australia can vary widely depending on the type of treatment and the dentist. In-chair treatments may range from several hundred to over a thousand dollars. Take-home kits provided by dentists can be less expensive but also vary in price

Alternatives to chemical teeth whitening include professional dental cleaning to remove surface stains, veneers, or crowns to cover discoloured teeth. Additionally, using whitening toothpaste for extrinsic stains can be an alternative for those looking for a more gradual effect​

Preventing teeth discolouration involves good oral hygiene practices, such as regular brushing and flossing, avoiding tobacco, and limiting foods and drinks that can stain teeth like coffee, tea, and red wine

Some natural remedies may help with light surface stains, but for deeper or intrinsic discolouration, they may not be effective. It’s best to consult with a dental professional before using any natural remedies for teeth whitening​

Registered dental practitioners are recommended because they have the training and expertise to safely handle the strong chemicals used in whitening treatments. They can also provide custom-fitted whitening trays and monitor the progress of the treatment to minimize the risks of tooth sensitivity and enamel damage​

Hydrogen peroxide is a common bleaching agent used in teeth whitening, and its safe concentration for home use is generally around 1 to 5%. Dentists can use higher concentrations for in-office treatments, where the procedure is done under professional supervision​

Teeth whitening products, if used incorrectly, can lead to enamel damage, which is permanent. Overuse or misuse of over-the-counter bleaching treatments, like strips or trays, can cause teeth to become dull, brittle, translucent, or discoloured. It’s important to use these products as directed and under dental supervision to prevent such damage

The long-term misuse of teeth whitening products can lead to irreversible dental enamel erosion. Over-whitening can make teeth appear dull and grey. It’s crucial to follow the guidance of oral health care professionals and use the whitening products correctly to avoid long-term damage

There is no definitive proof that teeth whitening is harmful during pregnancy, but there is also no evidence that it is safe. Due to the higher concentrations of chemicals used in teeth whitening, it is generally advised to avoid these procedures during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester

Teeth whitening is effective on extrinsic stains, which are on the outer surface of the tooth. These can often be removed with professional cleaning or whitening treatments. Intrinsic stains, which are located inside the tooth’s structure, are more challenging to treat and may require internal bleaching by a dental professional​

The risks include temporary tooth sensitivity, gum or mouth irritation, and in severe cases, chemical burns if the product is not used correctly. It’s essential to use teeth whitening products under the supervision of a dental professional to minimize these risks​

Teeth whitening treatments do not work on dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, or fillings. These restorations will not lighten with whitening treatments, which may lead to a mismatch in tooth color if the surrounding natural teeth are whitened​

To maintain the results of teeth whitening, practice good oral hygiene, avoid smoking, and limit the intake of staining foods and beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine. Regular dental cleanings can also help maintain the results

Some home remedies may help with mild surface stains, but they are not usually effective for deeper or intrinsic stains. Professional advice is recommended before trying any home remedies for teeth whitening

Consulting with a dental professional is the best way to determine the most suitable teeth whitening method. They can provide advice based on the type of stains, the condition of your teeth, and any previous dental work you’ve had done​