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 (HO) is a bleaching agent that converts into water (HO) and releases an Oxygen molecule (O) 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 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.
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 centered 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 contain 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 that 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.
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 is 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 colored, 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 Approved.
Myth 5 – You need to go to a Dentist to get professional whitening results
Not true! Today, you can buy in Australia, 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 mean you have many more choices and options.