Before and after whitening

Teeth Whitening: What is it and how does it work?

Chompers, pearly whites, gnashers, gumballs, jaw rocks, toothy pegs – whatever you’ve called them over the years, one thing for sure is we’ve come a long way in the care and maintenance of our teeth.

However, when it comes to keeping them white and bright, we seem to struggle. As a result, teeth whitening and dental has become a very popular request at dental offices. Read on to find out more about tooth whitening and if this is a suitable method for you.

What is Teeth Whitening?

There are various methods to bleach your teeth, including using whitening toothpaste, mouthwash and similar products that remove surface stains for very little cost. However, for lasting results getting it done by the professionals is the best option.

Tooth whitening as a cosmetic dental care procedure can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth’s surface. While it cannot make a complete colour change, it may lighten the existing shade.

Who is the Ideal Candidate?

There are a number of reasons why you might want to get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have glistening white teeth and as we get older our tooth enamel starts to lose that sparkly look and feel, eventually making way for micro-cracks that gradually begin to discolour.

Some other reasons why our teeth discolour include:

  • Surface stains caused by food and drinks (i.e. tea, coffee and red wine) and smoking
  • Under the surface stains caused by tiny cracks in the teeth or ‘calculus’ or tartar from certain antibiotics

At St John Medical, our teeth whitening techniques work on extrinsic and intrinsic staining, which respectively appear on the inside and outside of the teeth.

However, everyone responds differently to certain teeth whitening procedures. While some people respond well to professional bleaching, others with gray teeth or other serious discolouration may require porcelain veneers or bonding to achieve the smiles they’ve always wanted.

Where to Begin

The best place to begin is with a healthy mouth. Tooth decay, sensitive or cracked teeth, infections or periodontal problems should be diagnosed and treated before any tooth whitening procedures – otherwise, you could experience discomfort or aggravate existing problems.

So start with a dental check-up and your dentist can evaluate, diagnose and treat any pressing oral health conditions and advise you about different options to safely and effectively whiten your teeth.

While white, bright teeth are desirable, having a healthy smile is more important. Our dentists can help you achieve not only a whiter, brighter smile, but one that’s healthy and contributes to your overall health.

Our Teeth Whitening Process

At St John Medical, we pride ourselves on offering quality and affordable services, which is why we go above and beyond duty when it comes to your dental health.

As we’ve already addressed above, the teeth whitening process is not as simple as just setting up an appointment and having the procedure. Rather, we advise you book a whitening examination first to determine whether you’re a suitable candidate for dental bleaching.

During this consultation, our practitioners will examine your teeth thoroughly, inspecting the hard and soft tissues in your mouth and using whitening shade guides to measure tooth colour before and after the process to determine the effectiveness of the whitening procedure, which may vary up to nine shades lighter. They will also discuss the procedure with you and provide an estimate for the cost.

External vs. Internal Bleaching

There are many different teeth bleaching methods available, with the most common procedures being external and internal bleaching.

The external bleaching process consists of bleaching compound that’s placed directly onto the teeth to protect your gums and mouth from the high intensity light that’s used in the dental teeth whitening process.

The internal process is a little different as it requires access to the inside of the tooth. Our practitioners conventionally use internal bleaching on root canal-treated teeth. This combats internal straining, which is caused by blood and other fluids leaking onto the tooth during an infection.


Most teeth whitening treatments can be completed in a single visit to the dentist. The effects of bleaching should last for several months, but is also dependent on your lifestyle. For two weeks after bleaching it’s recommended to avoid foods that may stain the enamel.

To keep your teeth white moving forward, here’s some of our top tips:

  • Cut down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain your teeth
  • Stop smoking to prevent further discolouration and staining
  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other times during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Visit your dentist regularly as recommended

Want a bright smile? If you’re unhappy with the state of your teeth, St John Medical offers professional cosmetic dentistry procedures in Perth. For more information or to book an appointment, contact us today.

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