Will Teeth Whitening Work on All Types of Stains?

Are teeth stains dimming your smile? Professional teeth whitening can be an excellent solution to bring the shine back to your teeth. But is the time and money investment worth it? Will it remove all types of stains? If you’ve been considering getting a teeth whitening treatment done and are unsure if it will give you the desired results, we’re here to answer all your questions. Learn more about teeth whitening treatments, stains and discolouration and how to get the best results for a whiter smile.

Types of Teeth Stains 

Tooth discolouration or stains usually appear as localised spots or patches on the teeth, making your teeth look yellow, brown, or grey. There are two types of teeth stains:

Extrinsic Stains 

These stains occur on the outer surface of the tooth enamel and are primarily caused by external factors such as:

  • Consumption of pigmented foods (e.g., berries, tomato sauce) and beverages (e.g., coffee, tea, red wine)
  • Tar and nicotine found in tobacco products can adhere to tooth surfaces can stain your teeth yellow or brown
  • Poor oral hygiene, such as Inadequate brushing and interdental cleaning, can lead to plaque and tartar buildup and surface discolouration. 

Intrinsic Stains 

These stains affect the  internal layer of the tooth (dentin) and can be caused by:

  • As we age, the tooth enamel naturally wears down, revealing the underlying dentin layer, which can appear yellow or brown.
  • Injuries or trauma to the teeth can cause internal bleeding or damage to the tooth pulp, leading to changes in colour.
  • Some people may have naturally darker or more translucent enamel, making them more prone to intrinsic staining.
  • Certain medications can cause tooth discolouration as a side effect.

What Stains Does Teeth Whitening Remove?

Professional teeth whitening treatments only change the colour of the tooth enamel.  Therefore, if you have exposed root surfaces that have tea, coffee, or tobacco stains, teeth whitening will not work on them. These are best removed with dental cleaning and scaling or airflow therapy, which involves a high-pressure antibacterial spray using only air, powder particles and water. Yellower teeth are often quicker to whiten, and the frequency of usage may also affect how soon the results may show.

At Whitehorse Dental, we recommend a dental cleaning before getting your whitening treatment done for optimal results. This helps remove plaque and tartar buildup, allowing us to address any concerns like tooth decay and address any potential or developing problems before they develop. A dental cleaning will also remove any surface stains, leaving behind a smoother surface for the whitening gel to adhere to. For more comfortable and minimal contact clean, we use Airflow cleaning. It provides a gentle, whole mouth clean, and the pressure from the antibacterial spray removes stains and bacteria biofilm from the teeth and the deep periodontal pockets, reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities. 

How Do Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments Help?

There are two types of professional teeth whitening treatments: in-chair and take-home. The results from whitening treatments depend on certain factors, such as your natural tooth colour and genetics, strength, duration and consistency of the whitening gel, and your lifestyle and dietary factors. Here’s how they work:

In-Chair Teeth Whitening 

In-office teeth whitening usually involves one appointment, giving you instant results. It involves using a strong whitening gel on the teeth for 15 minutes and activating it with a laser light to whiten their colour. You may need around 3-4 cycles of in-chair whitening, taking about 90 minutes to bring effective results.

Even though in-chair whitening may provide an immediate whitening effect, the results are usually short-lived. This is because the whitening gel does not get enough time to react with your teeth; the longer the gel is left on, the whiter the teeth become. One hour is not enough to get longer-lasting results. Additionally, the LED light used to activate the laser dehydrates your teeth, making them look whiter. As your saliva hydrates the teeth again, your original tooth colour starts showing through. In-chair teeth whitening may not be suitable for people with sensitive teeth because of the high strength of the whitening gel. 

Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits 

Take-home teeth whitening kits are a convenient alternative to in-chair whitening, often offering more benefits and longer-lasting results. They come with the same safe, effective and professional-grade whitening gel but with custom-fitted take-home teeth whitening trays, which are the key to an effective and lasting result.

Your dentist will take your teeth impressions to create custom teeth whitening trays. All you have to do is apply the whitening gel to the trays and use them overnight or for a few hours during the day. The gel is a well-balanced concentration of peroxide, made according to your teeth’ condition and lightning requirements. Some people may have more tooth sensitivity than others, so they may need a lesser-strength gel, which will have to be left in the teeth longer. Others might need a stronger gel that may be worn for two hours instead of overnight. The results are a gradual whitening effect which lasts longer and can be used as long as you want to get the desired results. At Whitehorse Dental, we recommend putting half a grain of rice in each tooth because the most common reason for tooth sensitivity is that people use too much gel, which can increase tooth sensitivity. 

The benefits of take-home teeth whitening kits are that the gel can be customised to your needs, reducing sensitivity and allowing you to use them for longer to achieve the shade you want. The custom-fitted trays fit your teeth like a glove, protecting your gums from irritation. There is no placebo or dehydrating effect, which means the results you get are longer lasting. The gel is left on longer, allowing ample time to react with your teeth and whiten the enamel. 

Our Blackburn clinic offers the take-home professional whitening kit for only $189. We have invested in technology to make the custom trays in-house, allowing us to pass on the savings to our patients.


Tips for Maintaining Whitened Teeth

Once you have achieved your desired whitening shade, it’s important to maintain the results. Teeth stains, especially external, will return with wear, usage and dietary factors. Protect your oral health and tooth colour with regular dental checkups and cleanings to remove plaque, tartar buildup and extrinsic stains that have accumulated near the tooth root. 

Here are a few tips to help keep your teeth healthy and white:

  • Brush your teeth with strong fluoride toothpaste and use interdental brushes daily to remove plaque and prevent surface staining.
  • Avoid highly pigmented foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine, berries, and tomato sauce,
  • When drinking beverages that may stain your teeth, such as coffee or soda, use a straw to minimise direct contact with the teeth.
  • After consuming staining foods or beverages, rinse your mouth with water or chew sugar-free gum to help wash away any residue and prevent staining.
  • Tobacco use, whether smoking or chewing tobacco, can lead to severe tooth discolouration. Quitting smoking can help prevent further staining and improve overall oral health.
  • Use take-home teeth whitening trays for touchups or maintenance. 
  • If using at-home whitening products, follow the instructions carefully and avoid overuse, which can lead to tooth sensitivity and damage to the enamel. Stay away from products that use LED light to activate the gel, which will only dehydrate your teeth. 

Teeth Whitening Treatment in Blackburn

Don’t let teeth stains stop you from smiling. Our professional teeth whitening treatments are customised to your needs, helping you get a whiter smile safely under the supervision of our trained dentists. We aim to provide lasting results, ensuring you do not have to run to the dentist or buy ineffective over-the-counter products every time you have an event coming up or when you are feeling unhappy with your smile. Out whitening treatments go beyond cosmetics, focusing on both your oral health and smile appearance to help you retain a vibrant smile for years to come. Talk to our Blackburn dentists about teeth whitening today.