Dentists and pharmacists alike are continuously presented with a variety of questions regarding DIY tooth whitening products. Now more than ever, men and women of all ages worldwide are taking the appearance of their teeth into their own hands. Right now, the very best teeth whitening products availableare by a huge margin the most impressive we’ve seen to date.
Still, this doesn’t mean it’s quite as simple as just grabbing the first product you come across and expecting it to work wonders. If you want to get the most out of your DIY teeth whitening project, you need to know what you’re doing.
So with this in mind, what follows is a brief overview of just a few of the most important and commonly-asked questions regarding OTC teeth whitening products:
Does DIY whitening work?
In short, yes and no – it all depends on the quality and effectiveness of the kit you buy. Right at the top end of the market, you’ll find an extensive range of outstanding teeth whitening products that have been clinically proven as effective and safe to use. To such an extent that with ongoing use as recommended by the respected manufacturer, it’s possible to keep your teeth looking brilliantly white on a permanent basis.
To an extent, DIY teeth whitening kits work in exactly the same way as those used by dentists. It’s just that the chemicals in OTC whitening kits aren’t nearly as potent. Hence, you can’t expect the same results after a single application. Nevertheless, pick up a quality kit from a recommended manufacturer and you could be looking at outstanding results. By contrast, choose a bargain-basement kit from an unknown brand and it might have absolutely no effect whatsoever.
How many applications will be required?
Again, this is something that varies significantly from one product or kit to the next. In some instances, you’ll be looking at genuinely impressive results after a single application. After which, another one or two treatments (as recommended by the manufacturer) could make an incredible difference to the whiteness of your teeth. In other instances, it may be necessary to use whitening products half a dozen or more times, in order to reach the desired effect.
Across the board, the importance of following the manufacturer’s guidelines to the letter cannot be overstated. Check both minimum and maximum application frequency and duration, as it’s important not to simply make things up as you go along. Doing so could lead to not only poor results, but also potential harm to your teeth and gums.
How long will the whitening last?
If you successfully whiten your teeth up to the required extent using any conventional product or kit, your lifestyle will largely determine if and to what extent they stay white. For example, if you whiten your teeth and immediately go back to the heavy consumption of things like coffee, red wine, tea and tobacco, you can’t expect your teeth to remain white for more than a couple of weeks at best. By contrast, avoid anything known to stain teeth while using quality whitening toothpaste/mouthwash along the way and it’s not uncommon for the whitening effect to last several months.
Once again, there’s the option of occasionally ‘topping up’ the whiteness of your teeth using a safe and approved whitening product. This is again something that will be recommended (or otherwise) by the manufacturer of the respective kit.
Will the whitening kit hurt my gums?
The truth is, it’s actually rare to come across anyone who doesn’t experience at least some degree of gum irritation and discomfort when whitening their teeth. The simple fact of the matter being that if you introduce potent chemicals to your mouth, it’s inevitable that they’ll have a negative effect on your delicate gum tissue. In most instances however, the irritation is extremely mild in nature and disappears relatively quickly after completion of the treatment.
That said, sensitivity and soreness will vary in accordance with both the oral health of the individual in question and their chosen whitening product. If the whitening gel or strips you use are particularly harsh, you may experience more significant discomfort and irritation. Likewise, if you already have any kinds of health issues with your gums, you may find the whitening process somewhat painful. If in doubt, speak to your dentist before going ahead.
Will the whitening kit damage my teeth?
If you buy a quality whitening kit from an established and reputable brand, the answer is no – it cannot and will not damage your teeth. That is, just as long as you use it in accordance with the manufacturer’s guidelines. The overwhelming majority of whitening kits on the market simply do not contain potent enough formulas to cause any kind of lasting damage. It’s therefore up to you to ensure you buy a decent kit in the first place.
However, it’s perfectly possible that the whitening products you use will cause a certain amount of sensitivity and discomfort. This is particularly true if you already have sensitive teeth – sensitivity being an issue you should bring to the attention of your dentist, before going ahead and whitening your teeth. As above, any sensitivity or discomfort experienced during the whitening process should quickly disappear, shortly after completion of the treatment.
How white will my teeth be?
Last but not least, it’s fundamentally impossible to answer this question as everybody’s mouth is unique. Just because two people use exactly the same whitening kit in exactly the same way doesn’t mean the results will be even remotely similar. The whitening effect you can expect will be determined entirely by the quality of the kit you use, how you use it and how your teeth respond to it accordingly.
It’s therefore important to gauge your expectations realistically, rather than expecting miracles. If the kit you choose has the desired effect, great! If not, perhaps consider speaking to your dentist for his or her advice on alternative whitening methods.