Everything good starts with a smile, hence beautiful teeth are everyone’s dream. Nowadays, social media sites are bursting with a plethora of photos of pearly white teeth and adverts of teeth whitening products. But are they safe? What to watch out for? And which one to choose?

Is teeth whitening for everyone?

Teeth whitening is not always possible or recommended, like in the case of tooth sensitivity, dental decay, periodontal disease or exposed tooth roots. It is also worth remembering that teeth whitening is only allowed from the age of sixteen. The procedure is also not recommended for people who were wearing braces in the past 6 months, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with compromised immune systems and those who are allergic to any of the whitening agents, or taking certain medications.

Can all teeth be whitened?

No. Teeth whitening will only whiten your natural teeth. The procedure will not work on crowns, caps, veneers, bridges or fillings. These will remain unchanged. Also, while yellow teeth may bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well, and some of them may not improve at all. This is why it is important to talk to your dentist first, before deciding to whiten your teeth. In addition, the procedure will not be effective if your tooth colour changes due to medications or is caused by an injury. Your dentist will be able to advise you which treatment is best for you, what results you can expect and if there are any risks involved – like developing tooth sensitivity.

Professional teeth whitening vs shop bought products

Teeth whitening should only be performed by a dental care professional such as a dentist or hygienist. Dentistry is highly regulated, so your dentist can only use certain materials of a specific strength that is approved to be safe. In contrast, whitening products bought in shops or online contain lots of different, often unsafe ingredients and come in incorrect strengths. This often causes teeth damage so should be avoided at all cost. In addition, the mouthguard that comes with a shop-bought whitening kit will not fit your mouth properly and the bleach may spill over and leak out in your mouth and on your gums, not only causing sensitivity and blistering, but also putting you in a serious health risk.

Why you will benefit from professional teeth whitening in our clinic

There’s several reasons why you may benefit from our teeth whitening procedures. Teeth stain with age and due to drinking a lot of coffee, tea and red wine. Certain foods will also discolour your teeth. There’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. We understand how this can impact on your self-esteem and your confidence, so we will do everything we can to bring your pearly-whites back. At Materna Dental, our experienced and knowledgeable staff will welcome you warmly and provide you with a comfortable teeth whitening experience that will restore your smile and leave you satisfied!

Teeth whitening methods

There are many ‘natural’ ways to whiten your teeth at home, including whitening with baking powder, strawberries, baking soda, banana peel or lemon juice. However, the effects are negligible and all those methods only weaken the enamel of your teeth and lead to tooth sensitivity or dental decay.

The different types of teeth whitening available in our Clinic:

  1. Teeth whitening using BEYOND™ lampThis method involves covering the teeth with a special gel, which is then activated by the light of the BEYOND™ lamp. The gel contains hydrogen peroxide, silicon dioxide and other ingredients that increase the results of the treatment and reduce tooth sensitivity. The BEYOND™ lamp emits light that increases the rate at which the whitening gel passes through the enamel to the dentin and activates the oxidation process in the centre of the tooth structure. Light with a wavelength between 480 and 520 nm is filtered through the optical system, so that it does not allow harmful infrared and ultraviolet radiation to pass through.Compared to other lamps available on the market, the Beyond halogen accelerator emits a lower temperature, which makes the cold light treatment completely pain-free and without any side effects.The teeth whitening program is selected individually to meet our patient’s needs and expectations, and the procedure is carried out under the full supervision of qualified staff. The procedure takes about 60 minutes, depending on the case.This method can be used in patients with cavities, exposed necks, enamel abrasion and incomplete fillings, as long as your dentist will secure the enamel with a special liquid rubber dam. The whitening effect is guaranteed and lasts up to 2 years. The Beyond method allows you to obtain teeth that are lighter between 5 to 14 shades according to the VITA scale.

We are one of the only few clinics in Poznań that have the latest model of the Beyond lamp and the effects are truly outstanding. Visit our Instagram and see for yourself!

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Picture 1. Teeth whitening treatment using Beyond lamp

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Picture 2. Before and after whitening treatment using Beyond lamp

2. Overlay method of teeth whitening

This method involves the use of an individually suited overlay for the patient’s dental arches together with a special whitening gel – we use Pola Night. The teeth are first cleaned by a hygienist and thoroughly examined by a dentist. After that, an impression is taken, on the basis of which our technician will make personalised overlays. During the next visit, the patient receives a ready-made whitening kit, which can be used comfortably at home. The dentist will thoroughly explain how to use the overlays with the gel. Depending on the concentration of the whitening agent, the overlay method can be used during day or night – we recommend using it through the night. The duration of the treatment is about two weeks. 

This method can whiten teeth by up to 6 shades and the effects will last for at least one year. The overlay tray itself will last much longer, therefore the patient can use this method again in the future, without needing to pay for the new overlay.

3. ICON white spot treatment

ICON is a revolutionary treatment that can improve the appearance of white spots or a mottled appearance of teeth with no drilling. White spots are very common and can be caused by several reasons. Two most common ones are: decalcification – the loss of minerals from the enamel, which sometimes happens after the fixed brace treatment if there oral hygiene wasn’t sufficient. The second most common cause of white spots is fluorosis, caused by high levels of fluoride exposure in the early years of life, when the adult teeth are still developing.

It’s a common misconception that conventional whitening treatment will even the shade of white spots. But this is not possible. White spots are caused by acids drawing minerals away from enamel and leaving a more porous structure, where air becomes trapped creating the appearance of white spots. ICON method is the only possible solution in this case, as it eliminates spots by infiltrating them and filling in these areas of trapped air, restoring the normal appearance of the enamel.

The procedure is simple, painless and effective in restoring the shade of your enamel. ICON will not give an overall whitening effect to your teeth, it is only intended to get rid of the white spots and restore evenness of shade. This method is very safe and can be used on children and pregnant women.

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Picture 3. Overlay tray

4. Flow Injection

One of the non-invasive ways to improve the aesthetics of your smile is aesthetic flow injection veneers. This method allows for a very precise and predictable reconstruction of the tooth surface, as well as a change in the shape and colour of the teeth by combining the outer layer of the tooth with a liquid composite. It allows to repair tooth chips, mask visible cracks, close a small diastema, and whiten teeth by using a lighter composite.

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Picture 4. Before and after Flow Injection

What to do after teeth whitening

It is important to take care of your teeth after your treatment and to practise good oral hygiene to maintain the results. Below are few tips to keep your teeth white for longer:

  • For 48 hours after your treatment, follow ‘the white diet’ and do not consume any foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as: coffee, tea, red wine, carbonated coloured drinks, tomatoes, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, chocolate, spinach, beetroot, berries as well as certain spices like paprika and turmeric. You can eat water, milk, poultry, fish, bread, rice, pasta, cheese, eggs and bananas.
  • Clean your teeth after every meal and brush them regularly using soft toothbrush
  • Use a gentle whitening toothpaste for a couple of weeks after the procedure to maintain the colour for longer
  • Use the home whitening kit if it was provided by your dentist
  • Do not smoke for at least 48 hours

How long the whitening effect will last will depend greatly on how well you follow your dentist’s recommendations. Smoking, a diet rich in highly colouring foods and poor oral hygiene will significantly accelerate the process of staining.

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Picture 5. Dental colour chart

FAQ – Frequently asked questions

Why do teeth darken?

Darker tooth colour can be genetically determined or acquired. The most common reasons for teeth darkening is poor oral hygiene, smoking or a diet rich in teeth staining foods and drinks. Dental trauma caused by sports-related injuries, falls and crashes may also result in teeth discolouration. Some health conditions can also be the cause, including liver disease, calcium deficiency, metabolic diseases, coeliac disease and eating disorders. Same with certain medications, most commonly antihistamines, high blood pressure tablets and some antibiotics like doxycycline and tetracycline, as well as certain treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Does Teeth Whitening Damage Enamel?

In-clinic teeth whitening is completely safe. The procedure is preceded by a professional dental consultation and the whole process is supervised by a qualified dentist.

Whitening your teeth on your own can cause damage to your enamel and may even require root canal treatment or lead to tooth decay.

Is teeth whitening worth it?

Absolutely. Every smile makes you a day younger – says one Chinese proverb. Pearly-white teeth can be our most beautiful jewellery. It’s amazing how much can change when you are confident to smile a lot. It’s always worth investing in yourself.

How long will the whitening effect last?

This really depends. It depends on the method used, your oral hygiene and how well you follow your dentist’s advice. Generally the effect will last between several months up to two years.

Which teeth whitening method is the most popular?

Currently the most popular method is teeth whitening using the Beyond lamp. It allows you to whiten your teeth by an average of 8 shades, and the effect is visible immediately after one 45-60 minute treatment.