Debunking the Myths and Lies of Teeth Bleaching

October 30, 2017

Every teeth whitening company will tell you something different, making it very difficult for someone without a dental background to know who is telling the truth. Whatever teeth whitening companies tell you, make sure you verify the information. This includes us — don’t take our word for it — put us to the test.
 

 

Myth 1: Teeth Whitening Ruins Your Tooth Enamel

 

Not generally true!

Professional teeth whitening product suppliers mostly use Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide as the active ingredients in their tooth whitener gels. The chemical Hydrogen Peroxide is a bleaching agent which converts into water and releases an Oxygen molecule in the process of the chemical reaction. Both Water and Oxygen are common, safe components of our everyday lives.

 

The Oxygen particles penetrate the rough surface of your tooth (even though they appear smooth, they are microscopically rough, rod like crystal structures) and dislodge staining particles.

I like to explain this by imagining the TV commercials which show how a clothes washing powder with oxygen lifts stains from your clothing.

 

The "bleach" Hydrogen Peroxide is not the same as household bleach containing ammonia, or other low-end, acid based tooth whitening products, and can be swallowed, within limits. In fact our own bodies produce Hydrogen Peroxide naturally!

 

Acidic products can remove enamel from your teeth. Look for teeth whitening products using Hydrogen Peroxide which is pH balanced, meaning they have no, or low acidity levels. Putting acidity into perspective, you should be aware that everyday Orange Juice is shown in lab studies to soften (and potentially erode) tooth enamel by many times more than a professional hydrogen peroxide based tooth whitening gel could, if used correctly.

 

Lovelysmiles has its own gel which uses Hydrogen Peroxide, Potassium Nitrate, the active ingredient in sensodyne toothpaste and calcium fluorophosphates to stregnthen the enamel. Lovelysmile Zero uses latest technology and active ingredient of Sodium Perborate.


 

Myth 2: Teeth Whitening Is Not Safe

 

Not true! Cosmetic teeth bleaching with Hydrogen Peroxide has been in use for 100 years.

Most recognized dental bodies worldwide endorse tooth bleaching as a generally safe practice, when simple safety steps are followed. Any professional supplier of teeth whitening products will include adequate instructions for the safe use of their product.

 

Safety vs Risk with tooth whitening is generally centred on 2 main issues: Exposure of the gel to the gums and soft tissue of the mouth or lips, and tooth sensitivity. Both can be minimized by using professional products and minimizing the amount of time the bleaching gel is exposed to the gums or teeth.

 

As with any cosmetic procedure, there are potential risks. Thankfully with professional teeth whitening any side effects experienced are temporary and are not permanent. As with most cosmetic procedures, you may have to endure some discomfort to look better. Sometimes I call this "Vain Pain".
 

 

Myth 3: All Whitening Gel Is The Same

 

Not true! Of the two major professional gel options, there is Carbamide Peroxide and Hydrogen Peroxide. Both produce the same active ingredient Hydrogen Peroxide, but Carbamide Peroxide acts SLOWER on the teeth and is recommended for use only with an Accelerator Light (I will talk about that later) or for overnight use. Carbamide Peroxide concentrations contains roughly 1/3 of the active ingredient, Hydrogen Peroxide. As an example, 35% Carbamide Peroxide is roughly equal to 12% Hydrogen Peroxide.

 

Because Hydrogen Peroxide is an unstable chemical which reacts immediately, it is more expensive to produce. Many vendors offer only Carbamide Peroxide based products as a result. Stabilized Hydrogen Peroxide, while the most difficult and expensive to produce, reacts immediately on contact with the teeth and is best suited for short duration tooth whitening treatments without an accelerator light.

 

Lovelysmile uses 12% Hydrogen Peroxide in its clinical treatments and 7% in its take home pen. Lovelysmile Zero has 0.16% Hydrogen Peroxide.


 

Myth 4: Teeth Whitening Accelerator Lights Don't Work

 

Not generally true! Except in some cases. There are businesses who sell only take home teeth whitening kits, and some Dentists, who say that the LED Lights and other accelerator lights are just a gimmick and don't work.

 

There have been many studies conducted which show that the use of a professional accelerator light does indeed accelerate the oxidization (the release of oxygen and chemical bleaching reaction) of tooth whitener gel. This is especially true with Carbamide Peroxide based whitening gels which react much slower chemically.

 

Ask yourself, how many Dentists and Cosmetic Dentistry businesses offer an "in-office", "chairside", "instant whitening" or "Power Whitening" treatment? Many of them! Now why would they offer this treatment if the accelerator lights did not work? From my own professional experience, there is no doubt that the professional quality Blue LED Accelerator lights enable a faster tooth whitening result when using Carbamide Peroxide gel. In our own studies and observations having worked with thousands of clients and compared the results with the same gel, over the same time period, with and without the LED Accelerator Lamp, we are sure there is a noticeable improvement with the light under these conditions.

 

But, not all Accelerator Lights are the same. Some Dentists use older technology lamps such as Plasma, UV and other technologies. These technologies function at a light spectrum which is known to cause heating or burning of the skin tissue and heating of the tooth surface to release the oxygen in the gel, unfortunately that can also mean UV damage to your mouth, gums and lips. There are also mini handheld LED Lights you often see in TV Commercials - these are only toys and do not have enough power to have any effect.

 

Another case of where an accelerator light doesn't work well is if the provider uses a mouth tray to hold the gel against the teeth, and this tray is coloured, is a "Silicone Impression" tray, or is a Pre-Filled Foam tray. These types of mouthguard trays do not allow the light frequency to pass through them and there are no accelerated bleaching effects as a result.

 

Modern, professional teeth whitening accelerator lamps all use LED light in the blue light spectrum, at a specific frequency which excites the oxygen release from the chemical, and accelerates the tooth whitening process. They are often known as "Cool LED" or "cold" light accelerators because they do not heat the teeth or surrounding tissue. As a result, they are perfectly safe, and the technology is FDA Apparoved.

 

Lovelysmile uses its latest technology of a Laser LED Combo light with its own whitening gels.
 

 

Myth 5: You Need To Go To A Dentist To Get Professional Whitening Results

 

Not true! Today, you can buy in Australia & New Zealand professional strength tooth whitening products which you can use at home or as a service with a professional accelerator light and assistance - and not just from the Dentist.

 

Dentists are exclusively allowed to use the VERY STRONG bleaching gels, over 16% Hydrogen Peroxide, and up to 35% Hydrogen Peroxide. At these strengths of whitening gel, the real risks are tooth sensitivity and gum trauma. Dentists therefore use a special gum barrier which they apply to your gums prior to applying the strong gels. A Dentist will usually get a better whitening result in the same amount of time as a non-dental treatment, but there are costs to consider, both financially and in increased tooth sensitivity when using the stronger Dentist-only treatments.

 

For many years the Dentist's had the cosmetic teeth whitening market monopolized because professional teeth whitening technology was too expensive for anyone else. Today, the price and availability of professional tooth whitening products means you have many more choices and options. In New Zealand this has changed and members of the New Zealand Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Association have been recognised by the EPA and acknowledged by the Ministry of Health. Lovelysmile is a founding member of the NZCTWA.
 

 

Myth 6: Teeth Bleaching Gels From Anywhere Other Than The USA, Australia and UK Are Unsafe

 

Not true! First of all, in this modern world, you may not even know it but products appearing to be manufactured by a good American or Australian brand are most likely actually manufactured in China. This is true with all types of products and technology worldwide, due to simple economics.

 

There are many brands of teeth whitening products available in the market. You don't need to be concerned where they were manufactured, because it makes NO DIFFERENCE. The active chemical, Hydrogen Peroxide is the same the world over. Because Hydrogen Peroxide is also used as a disinfectant, bacteria can't live in this chemical and it will always be safe (ie; germ and bacteria free) to put Hydrogen Peroxide based gel into your mouth regardless of where it came from or how it was manufactured.

 

If the Hydrogen Peroxide gel is past its use by date or chemically expired, you will know right away, because the gel turns a milky white colour which shows that it is already oxidized and will no longer be effective at whitening your teeth, it won't cause any harm.

 

The Lovelysmile Gel is manufactured in Las Vegas USA.
 

 

Myth 7: You Need Customised Mouthguard Trays To Get The Best Whitening Results

 

Not true! While Dentists offer custom mouth trays which costs a lot of money, there are also many home whitening kits providing the boil-n-bite thermoshrinking mouthguards which will work equally as well. The totally custom trays may be a little more comfortable to wear, but they need to be, because in general, a Dentist's at-home teeth whitening kits require you to have the tray in your mouth for long periods of time, over weeks of use. There are non-dentist products which only require short time duration usage, so it doesn't matter as much if the mouthguard is less comfortable.

 

The other problem with mouthguards which are too form-fitted is that the gap between the teeth and the surface of the mouthguard is so small, that only the thinnest layer of whitening gel can fit between. The problem with this is less chemical = less whitening result, so you need to use the mouthguard and gel more frequently, over longer periods of time to get a good result.

 

Lovelysmile does not use trays but applies the gel directly to the teeth.

 


Myth 8: All Teeth Are The Same And Whitening Results Should Be Like The 'Hollywood' Smile

 

Unfortunately, some people have unrealistic expectations and can be disappointed with their teeth whitening results. This is not because professional teeth whitening products don't work, because they ALWAYS WORK to some degree. It's because they fail to understand that each person's teeth are unique in mineral composition, which means that tooth bleaching will produce a different result for each person. If your teeth are genetically more yellow than someone else, your results will not be as white, no matter who's product you use, how many times you try to whiten your teeth, or what the strength of the gel is. And some people have deep staining from antibiotics, tetracycline etc. which can't be easily removed and may never be fully removed. Also, there are people with genetically grey or blue tinted teeth for which Hydrogen Peroxide bleaching does not work as well as yellow or brown colour tints.

 

People see the Hollywood Stars on TV and in Movies and believe they can get their teeth bleached to look like the movie stars. Unfortunately, that is not possible. Chemical Teeth Whitening has its limits of effectiveness and will not produce the pure white colour (for most people) you see on Movie Stars. Does that mean that movie stars are just genetically lucky? No, it means that movie stars have often paid many thousands of dollars for Porcelain Veneers to straighten their teeth and make them pure white. Of course you have this option too, if you have the money, but a tooth whitening with Hydrogen Peroxide generally makes a noticeable difference in whiteness and brightness of natural teeth, at a much lower cost than Veneers.

 


Myth 9: I Have Caps, Crowns, Veneers or Dentures So I Can't Whiten My Teeth

 

Not true! While Hydrogen Peroxide only whitens natural teeth, it also cleans all surfaces, including man-made surfaces of caps, crowns, veneers and dentures. Some dentists say that hydrogen peroxide can weaken the bond of some of these artificial substances, or attack the metal components, but you should check with your Dentist about your specific case before whitening your natural teeth if you are concerned.

 

It is always better to whiten your natural teeth FIRST if you are going to be getting any caps, crowns etc. fitted. This is because the dentist can then match the colour of the artificial substance to your now whiter, natural teeth, giving an overall whiter smile.

 

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