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What is the difference between professional whitening and over-the-counter products?

So you’re thinking about getting your teeth whitened but you’re not sure whether you should have it done professionally or use products off the shelf. What’s the difference anyway?

Firstly, let’s start with how whitening works:

Whitening is when bleaching agents are placed onto the surfaces of the teeth and stains are withdrawn and removed from the outer layers. Surface staining, yellow or brown teeth are usually easier to whiten than grey, striped or spotted teeth. Long term staining by factors deep inside the tooth such as previous root canal treatment, tooth trauma, genetic or childhood factors may also be difficult to treat.

What kind of results can I expect?

Everyone’s teeth are different and therefore the degree of whitening varies from person to person and unfortunately can’t be predicted or guaranteed. It is important to note that pre-existing fillings and ceramic used in crowns and bridges will not be affected by the bleaching gels and will therefore not change colour.

The biggest difference between professional whitening and over-the-counter products:

The professional whitening gels that dentists are allowed to use are a much higher concentration to the products you can purchase over the counter from your chemist or supermarkets. The ADIA (Australian Dental Industry Association) limits over-the-counter whitening products to an equivalent strength of 6% Hydrogen Peroxide. Professional gels that the dentist can use are typically the equivalent of 37.5% Hydrogen Peroxide in strength.

When it comes to your dentist doing in-house whitening, the whitening gels are much stronger and therefore have the ability to draw out more staining then retail products. In saying that, there are some risks when it comes to whitening and that is why you should only proceed with whitening after consultation with your dentist.

What are the risks?

Regardless of the type of whitening process you under go, the process of whitening involves placing bleaching products into your mouth. This has the potential to irritate or even damage your teeth and gums if you have undiagnosed dental problems such as:

  • Periodontal (gum) disease;

  • Chipped or broken teeth;

  • Unfilled cavities or untreated toothache.

Tooth whitening is not recommended for:

  • Pregnant women who should have permission from their treating doctor;

  • Children or teenagers under 18 years old;

  • People with very minimal staining or discolouration as they may not see much benefit from the whitening process.

What do we offer?

At Gateway Dental Health we offer both professional in-chair whitening as well as custom-fit at home whitening trays and gels that can be used as initial treatment or as regular touch ups after the in-chair procedure.

We are currently having a special for in-office whitening with the Pola Office 37.5% Hydrogen Peroxide system for $599 (Normally $799) until the 31st of July, 2016.

Our custom fit home whitening trays includes both top and bottom arches and a 1-month supply of whitening gels for only $335!

For more information on improving your smile, visit!improve-your-smile/ccio

What’s next?

So after reading this if you are interested or have decided to go ahead with whitening, please call us to book a consultation. We always recommend a comprehensive examination along with a scale and clean, as whitening is safer and more effective on clean and healthy teeth.

If you have any questions please call one of our friendly staff on (07) 3493 0028 or email us at:

Take care and we hope to see you soon!

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