Are Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Effective?

Can this simple method really make your teeth brighter?

Although perhaps perceived as a bit of a novelty initially, supermarket shelves now contain many different brands of tooth whitening toothpastes. Judging by the advertising around these products, they must be very popular with the general public. Advertising can be deceptive though and its aim is often to make you think what you ‘want’ to think. That is, if you use this toothpaste, you too can have a smile like the person advertising it.

The truth is that most actors who appear in these adverts will have had nice teeth in the first place and could well even have undergone a prior teeth whitening treatment at their dentists. So why is this type of toothpaste so popular, and does it really work?

What is in a tooth whitening toothpaste?

The good news for consumers is that these toothpastes contain a similar ingredient to those that we use at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice during a teeth whitening procedure. The bad news is that it is in such small quantities that anyone expecting spectacular results is going to be very disappointed. In fact, even if your expectations are more moderate, you may well not see the results that you had hoped for.

If you are wondering why the amount of the whitening ingredient in these toothpastes is so small, the reason is that they are restricted by law for safety reasons. The active whitening ingredient is a form of bleach and could be dangerous if consumed in significant quantities. As toothpastes are widely used and often easily available to small hands, there is a risk to children especially if they eat the toothpastes, as we are sure some of you can remember doing yourself when you were younger.

But they are harmless aren’t they?

On the whole, yes. The quantity of the ingredient shouldn’t be a problem unless large amounts are consumed. Perhaps the biggest risk is that some of these toothpastes also contain additional abrasive elements which are designed to remove some of the surface staining from your teeth. Whilst they may succeed at this, there is also a danger that the over zealous abrasion will damage the enamel on our teeth which protects the inner parts of the tooth. If this happens, there is an increased risk of tooth decay, and also of sensitive teeth.

But I really want whiter teeth!

We do understand this and more and more of our Burton patients are concerned not only with having healthy teeth, but nice looking ones too. Thankfully cosmetic dentistry now offers a number of ways to help you achieve that great looking smile that you were hoping for.

The most popular cosmetic treatment that we offer at Mike Allen’s is our fast acting teeth whitening procedure. This is much more effective than any teeth whitening toothpaste on the market. We would also advise you to avoid other teeth whitening products that you might see advertised on social media. Whilst these might be more effective than the toothpastes, there are potential risks involved as you will not be supervised on a face to face basis by your dentist which could cause problems and even potentially harm your teeth.

Our tooth whitening treatment allows you to see a significant improvement in the colour of your teeth in just a few weeks and is safe and also allows the treatment to be carried out at home.

How does it work?

Initially, you will have a consultation with one of the dentists at our Burton practice. Your teeth will be examined to see if any restorative work needs carrying out before you have your teeth whitened. We will then take impressions of your teeth. This is to ensure that the trays that are made to fit over your teeth do so both securely and comfortably.

You will be recalled to the practice when your trays arrive; usually a week or two. You will then be shown how to apply the whitening gel and fit the trays over your teeth. This will then be done by yourself at home and they should be worn for a few hours a day depending on the instructions that we give you which will be customised for each patient. It is probably worth saying here that the treatment can be adjusted to your aims; whether you want the whitest smile possible or a more moderate improvement in the colour of your teeth, we can help.

After two or three weeks, you will really be able to notice the difference that this non-invasive treatment makes. From dull looking teeth to ones with a whiter brighter shine, we are confident that you will be happy with the results.

Any side effects?

A small number of people that have this treatment do experience heightened sensitivity in their teeth for a few days following the treatment. This is temporary and should soon go. We can also supply you with a gel that can be applied to your teeth to help ease any temporaary discomfort. As we say though, this should only last for a few days, if at all.

If you would like to see how we can whiten your teeth, we are always happy to arrange an initial consultation for you at our Burton dental clinic. To arrange yours, please call Mike Allen’s Dental Practice on 01283 845345.