Can Yellow Teeth Be Professionally Whitened

Dr. Ash Sagar
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished your teeth were whiter? If so, you’re like thousands of people suffering from tooth staining. Many people consider a bright, white smile attractive and it can boost one’s self-confidence. Fortunately, if your teeth are stained or yellowed, professional teeth whitening can help restore their natural colour.

Professional teeth whitening is a tooth bleaching process that uses high concentrations of hydrogen or carbamide peroxide to penetrate the tooth and whiten it from underneath. A highly trained dentist professionally supervises the entire teeth whitening process. The professional teeth whitening process takes an average of one to two hours, although it may take longer depending on the severity of the staining.

Professional teeth whitening is generally considered safe, although some risks are associated with it. These risks include tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Professional teeth whitening is usually not covered by dental insurance. The cost of professional teeth whitening can vary depending on the dentist, the bleaching agent used, and the number of sessions required. Despite the cost, professional teeth whitening is often considered to be a very effective way to achieve brighter teeth.

Common Causes of Tooth Discolouration

  • Dark-coloured or acidic food/drink. Staining can occur from dark-coloured beverages and food. These include coffee, tea, soft drinks, and wines. Some fruits and vegetables like apples and potatoes can also cause tooth discolouration.
  • Tobacco use. Smoking or chewing tobacco heavily stains teeth over time due to the nicotine content.
  • Poor oral hygiene. Insufficient brushing and flossing can cause plaque build-up on the surfaces of the teeth as well as discoloration.
  • Disease and treatment. Affectation of either the tooth enamel or the dentin of a tooth by a disease can cause discolouration. In some cases, medical treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can also cause the same discolouration. Certain medications can also discolour teeth.
  • Aging. With age, the enamel naturally wears away. The thinning of enamel allows the color of the underlying dentin to show through. Dentin has a slightly yellow colour.

Why Should You Get Your Teeth Whitened at The Dentist?

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  • Aesthetics
    Whiter teeth are generally found to make one more attractive. Additionally, it changes how you are perceived by the people around you. A set of bright pearly whites can make you seem more sociable and intelligent. Talk about a newfound burst of confidence!
  • Appear younger
    As aging natural changes tooth colour, a whiter set of teeth makes you look younger. Darkly coloured and acidic substances partaken over time contribute to tooth staining. By having your teeth whitened, you are given a new air of youth and vigour.
  • Dramatic results
    After an hour of professional tooth whitening, the colour of your teeth can be two to eight shades lighter. By comparison, home treatments typically require longer applications and have less dramatic results.
  • Safe professional care
    If not done with the proper precautions, tooth whitening can cause some negative side effects. Gum irritation occurs when the bleaching solution comes in prolonged contact with your gums. The risk is significantly lowered under professional care.
  • Less teeth sensitivity
    Prolonged and frequent use of at-home teeth whitening solutions can trigger temporary tooth sensitivity in some dental patients. The proper aftercare may not be observed in the pursuit of a brighter smile. Your dentist can monitor your treatment and condition more closely. Additionally, with the drastic results that professional tooth whitening can give, patients are less inclined to have the treatments done too often.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?


During in-office whitening, a high-concentration peroxide gel (15% to 43% peroxide) is applied to your teeth at intervals of 15-20 minutes. A special light is used to activate the peroxide, intensifying and speeding up the whitening process. The entire dental procedure can take one to two hours.

The bleaching gel soaks through the enamel and into the dentine, the part of the tooth that is slightly softer than the enamel. It reacts with the coloured molecules that cause discolouration. As a result, the dentine of the teeth becomes lighter, and they appear whiter. Bleach can also make enamel surfaces look whiter by making them more reflective.

With regard to patient safety, your dentist ensures that your oral tissues will be adequately protected during the entire whitening process before beginning the cosmetic procedure. The cheek retractor is used to open your mouth and protect your lips. Your gums will also be protected from the special blue light and the peroxide solution with a special gingival or gum barrier. A high vacuum suction will be used throughout the procedure to prevent accidental ingestion of the whitening solution.

How to Get Rid of Tooth Discolourations at Home?

Some alternative means of whitening teeth are available using common household items. However, absolute care is needed in using them since improper use or application of these alternatives can put your oral health at risk. These are some commonly used alternative means of whitening teeth at home.

  • Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide
    By mixing baking soda and hydrogen peroxide in a 1:2 ratio, a paste can be made to remove bacteria and plaque build-up from the tooth surface. The paste is used as toothpaste and brushed over the teeth. The friction and chemical interaction help remove the extrinsic stain.
  • Apple cider vinegar
    When diluted in water, apple cider vinegar can be used as a mouthwash to help whiten your teeth. Two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar are mixed with around six ounces of water to make the mouthwash. It is important to note that though this dental solution may temporarily whiten teeth, a common side effect is damage to the surface integrity of the tooth due to the acidic nature of the solution.
  • Lemon, orange, or banana peels
    It is believed that the citric acid found in some fruit peels has the potential to whiten teeth. The peel is rubbed directly on the teeth for two minutes. The mouth should then be thoroughly rinsed with water.
  • Activated charcoal
    Charcoal is highly absorbent and is often used to remove bacteria and toxins from the body. People have made the connection that it may also remove surface stains from teeth. When formulated in toothpaste, activated charcoal is safe to use. However, evidence shows that it can be abrasive when used directly on teeth.

How Many Teeth Whitening Sessions Do I Need?

For in-office teeth whitening, one visit yearly is typically enough to lighten teeth to the desired shade. During the session, the bleaching agent is applied in successive coats depending on the severity of the stain and the goal of the patient. The whitening process itself is done in intervals to check the status of the teeth between applications. Professional teeth whitening produces the most dramatic results in the shortest time when compared to other teeth whitening treatment options.

How Long Do Teeth Stay White After Teeth Whitening?

The effects of cosmetic teeth whitening have a typical lifespan of six months to two years. It varies between patients due to other factors, like aftercare and lifestyle choices. The following habits can help you preserve the whitening effects of the treatment:

  • Quit smoking. Smoking is considered the biggest culprit in terms of teeth staining. Regardless of whether the tobacco is smoked or chewed, you can expect staining to occur over time.
  • Avoid drinking dark-coloured liquids like coffee, tea, and wine. Using a straw can help minimize staining from these beverages.
  • Avoid food that can stain your teeth. These include beetroots and some berries.
  • Observe proper dental hygiene. By brushing your teeth regularly and flossing, you can prevent the build-up of bacteria in the mouth. With proper dental care at home, you can keep your new pearly whites bright for longer.
  • Keep up with dental appointments. Ideally, dental appointments should be scheduled every six months to allow your dentist to examine your teeth and gums regularly. This can help prevent serious dental conditions from developing because they can be treated as soon as possible. Your dentist may also recommend when a touch-up teeth whitening session should be scheduled to maintain the colour of your beautiful smile.

Final Thoughts

Professional teeth whitening is a popular dental treatment for people seeking a brighter smile. It is particularly effective with yellowish or heavily stained teeth. It is also a safer way to whiten teeth, thanks to the supervision of a dental professional. You can be sure that the proper precautions will be taken to avoid undesirable complications or side effects that could arise when using commercially available teeth whitening options.

Here at Narre Warren Dental Centre, we want our patients to make informed decisions with regard to their care. For any questions or concerns you may have about our professional teeth whitening treatment, you can call us at (03) 8771 4137. Our friendly staff are more than willing to help.

Disclaimer – Use At Your Own Risk :- The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. Any action you take upon the information on these blogs are strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of the information from these blogs.

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