Five Common Myths About Teeth Whitening

Clapham dentist, Dr Nicola Ogilvie, explains the reality behind these misconceptions.

One of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments at the Confidental Clinic is the teeth whitening procedure.

There are many likely reasons for this, including immediacy of results and the fact that it is one of the most cost effective ways of giving your smile a significant  boost.

Teeth whitening is also popular with celebrities, and this inevitably means that it will often receive a fair amount of media coverage. Unfortunately, not all celebrities are able to keep themselves out of the headlines, sometimes for the wrong reasons. This makes them easy targets for the media who will then often look for ways of portraying them even more badly. This often includes any beauty and cosmetic dental treatments that they may have had, especially where they have gone from dark smokers teeth to dazzling white ones.

With the media coverage often comes a number of half truths, and sometimes outright lies about this treatment. To help to counteract these, we take a look at some of the more common ones below.

Teeth whitening is painful

In all probability you will have read of someone who has been in pain following this treatment. I think that it is safe to say that this has never been the case for any of our Clapham patients. It is true that the teeth whitening procedure can cause temporary additional sensitivity for a few patients but this is not ‘painful’ as such and usually only lasts a few days. If someone has suffered genuine pain, they have probably used an illegal whitening outlet that has used a far stronger whitening solution than is safe. Never risk this. Only registered dentists are now able to provide this treatment.

It damages your teeth

Some have argued that having your teeth whitened damages the enamel. The fact is that the chemicals used to do this have been in use for over 30 years, with no serious problems when used correctly. Again, if you use an illegal outlet, there is a real risk, but at a genuine dental practice, any risk is very minimal indeed.

It’s a time consuming procedure

Not true. It takes just two straightforward visits to our Clapham surgery for this treatment. At the first, we will check for any dental problems, such as decay or gum disease, that would delay this treatment until the problem is resolved.  We will also take impressions of your teeth so that your trays are secure and comfortable, and will also discuss the degree of whiteness that you require.  The second visit entails receiving your trays along with the necessary instructions on how to apply the treatment. As this whitening treatment is carried out at home, it isn’t inconvenient at all and you can wear the trays whilst you watch TV, for example.

No need to clean your teeth after having it

We’re not really sure where this one came from. Perhaps it is that, following your treatment, your teeth will look significantly cleaner. Well, that is true but cleanliness in that sense won’t protect them from tooth decay. You need to brush and floss your teeth as you already should. Failure to do so will inevitably greatly increase the risk of tooth decay. In addition to this, your teeth will still stain unless you brush them.

The result is permanent

How we, and our patients wish it was. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and although the results are quite long lasting, if you want to retain the whiteness for the longer term, the treatment will need to be repeated after a period of time. The time needed between treatments will depend on a lot of factors including how well you clean your teeth and also whether you eat and drink a lot of teeth staining food and drinks or not.

Our cosmetic dental team are always more than happy to address any misconceptions that patients might have about any treatment, cosmetic or general dental. The best place for this is during the initial consultation. If you are thinking of having a cosmetic dental treatment and would like a professional opinion, rather than a media driven one, why not make an appointment to see one of our friendly dental team? Appointments can be made by calling the Confidental Clinic on 020 7801 9060 and we’ll be pleased to see you!

Dr Nicola Ogilvie – GDC – 211681