Teeth whitening is one of the most popular dental treatments in the world right now and we totally understand why. Within two hours and just one appointment, your teeth will be brighter, whiter, and in our experience, you just can’t stop smiling – it’s a win, win! But as with most in-clinic treatments, it can be pretty expensive, so we’re giving you all the deets on the best at-home teeth whitening products too; a girl needs options after all! Here’s everything you need to know before you do teeth whitening, whether it’s at the clinic or at home.
In-Clinic Teeth Whitening
In-clinic teeth whitening is the quickest and easy way to jump up on the shade chart, so we spoke to expert Dental Hygienist Beverly T Watson from the world-renowned Apa Aesthetic Dental and Cosmetic Centre. She gave us the full breakdown on teeth whitening so you know exactly what to expect.
According to Beverly, if you opt for in-clinic teeth whitening your teeth can improve by two to five shades on the color scale. Although she does add that teeth whitening varies from case to case, although we trialed the experience for ourselves and the results were insane. When we asked what determines the result of teeth whitening, she told us: “How porous or dense your teeth are. We all have micropores, like our skin, but even smaller in our teeth (enamel). Some people’s pores are quite closed, which results in dense teeth. Other people have more open pores, which equals more porous. The porous enamel will always whiten better but it’s difficult to know and predict which type you have.”
The In-Clinic Teeth Whitening Process
Step 1: Teeth cleaning
Before you get your teeth whitened, Beverly insists that it’s crucial to have them cleaned; “Let’s put it this way, you wouldn’t polish your car without cleaning it first. It helps to give a better whitening result. However, if the gums are bleeding and inflamed, you may need to wait one week before having the whitening.”
Step 2: Protect the gums
To protect the gums, a gel is applied to the gums before you begin the whitening process. At the Dr. Apa clinic, they use a high percentage of Hydrogen Peroxide gel to oxidize away the stains in your teeth. “It is perfectly safe on enamel but we don’t want to get any on your gums or tongue” explains Beverly.
Step 3: Apply the teeth whitening gel formula
Once the gums have been protected, the teeth whitening formula is applied to the teeth. The most common formula (which is also used at the Dr. Apa Clinic) is the In-Office Philips Zoom Whitening, which Beverly believes is the most effective. “I have used so so many whitening products and while this one can still give some sensitivity (much less than before) it gives consistently good results and on occasion AMAZING results, others can be very mediocre at best,” Beverly explained. She also recommends using the Apa Beauty Apa White Duo Whitening Strips, $150, for home maintenance.
Step 4: Blue Light
After the formula is on your teeth, it’s time for the blue light machine. The machine is fitted into your mouth using a shield, then the blue light is activated in rounds that last 15 minutes each. Beverly tells us that the blue light “activates the gel and aids the oxidization of the coffee, tea, tobacco stains out of your teeth leaving them fresh and bright.”
This step does cause sensitivity with some teeth; “Again going back to the pores in our teeth, although larger pores usually give good to great results they may feel a bit more sensitivity or if the Clinician has rushed the preparatory phase and some gel leaks onto the gum that can be quite sore. It’s a very important step not to be hurried.” Beverly adds; “I always aim for three cycles of blue light. If the teeth are already looking on fleek and gorgeous only two cycles are necessary or if sensitivity is experienced, I would stop at two.”
To achieve our bright white smile, we did three rounds of 15 minutes with the Philips Zoom Whitening system and while one of our editors experienced no pain at all and very little sensitivity in the following days, our other editor did have some pain during the procedure and sensitivity in the following days.
In-Clinic Teeth Whitening Aftercare
What to avoid: After the appointment, you should stay clear of colored foods like coffee, tea, red wine, soy sauce, and berries for at least 48 hours as these will stain your teeth. You should also avoid smoking for at least 24 hours.
If your teeth are still sensitive after the whitening experience, you can take anti-inflammatory pain killers to ease the pain. To relieve sensitivity, you can also coat your new pearly whites in a toothpaste made to help sensitivity, like Sensodyne.
At Home Teeth Whitening Products:
While in-clinic teeth whitening is fast and effective, it can still back you back around $400 or more, so, fortunately, there are other at-home alternatives that are effective.
Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrips Teeth Whitening Kit
Crest Teeth Whitening Strips have been one of our go-to whitening strips for years! They’re practically pain-free and the result is insane, considering you can complete the process from the comfort of your couch. Plus, they’re a lot more affordable than an in-office treatment. They remove old stains and the results can last up to twelve months, although we like to do a top up every six months. The strips are easy to use; they mold to the shape of your teeth and use an enamel-safe whitening agent. You can even drink water while the strips are sitting on your teeth, which is really useful if you’re on the go. The only thing is you do have to be dedicated to the process as you should apply one a day for 30 minutes, for 20 days.
Shop them here, $35.
Apa Beauty White Duo System
Dr. Apa also offers an at-home whitening option. The Apa Beauty White Duo System includes a brightening pen and 10 teeth whitening strips, which should be used for five consecutive days for best results. The formula is hydrogen peroxide-free, which is really gentle on sensitive teeth. Plus, the brightening pen makes the entire process really easy and the strips are clear so you can whiten when you’re on the go. Although, as the strips have a strong grip they’re slightly more difficult to remove.
Shop it here, $150.
DIY Teeth Whitening
DIY teeth whitening is a bit of a controversial topic, especially in the dental world. While many dentists do not recommend DIY teeth whitening and we consider professional methods more effective and safer, we’ve tried the experience for ourselves and did notice a difference. So, while it wouldn’t be our first point of call, for a one-off whitening treatment, you could consider this DIY. Here’s how you do it:
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Mash up a strawberry and mix it with a teaspoon of baking soda. Once well combined, dip a soft toothbrush in it and gently brush your teeth with it. The combination of malic acid and vitamin C removes stains and brightens the teeth for a noticeable difference.
Dos and Don’ts of Teeth Whitening
Okay, so to round it up really quick, here are the dos and don’ts of teeth whitening:
- Do: Have a full dental hygienist cleaning at least 2 months before.
- Do: Use an electric toothbrush and floss daily to keep stains away and maintain any whitening you have had.
- Do: Use a Sensitive Tooth Paste (TP) or Apa Beauty toothpaste massaged onto teeth 3 days before Whitening appointment to help avoid sensitivity.
- Don’t: “Drink or eat anything too colorful 2 days after having an in-clinic whitening treatment.
- Don’t: Have whitening if your gums have receded a lot, you have lots of tooth-colored fillings on your front teeth or Veneers.
Have you guys tried teeth whitening? We’d love to know your experience. Let us know in the comments below.