The Ultimate Guide to Teeth Whitening in Australia
Chompers, pearly whites, gnashers, gumballs, jaw rocks, toothy pegs - whatever you’ve called them over the years there’s one thing for sure, we’ve come a long way in the care and maintenance of our teeth.
If there's one thing, we struggle to maintain with our teeth, however, it's keeping them bright and white.
If you're looking for teeth whitening options, it's a good idea to do a little light research before making a decision on any solution - you'll achieve best result's possible, for the best amount, without damaging your teeth.
We've covered every nook and cranny of the teeth whitening space in Australia below so grab a cup of tea (coffee is not the best idea) read an article or two, and you'll be one step closer to that pearly white smile you've been wanting.
Learn More About Teeth Whitening:
Natural Teeth Whitening Strategies
If you'd prefer to avoid going down the commercial root of teeth whitening, why not consider natural remedies? We reveal the most promising home remedies here.
Teeth Whitening Costs
How much can you expect to spend, and do you get what you pay for when it comes to teeth whitening? Find out how much you can expect to spend, and more, right here
ZOOM Teeth Whitening Reviews
One of the most popular cosmetic 'in-the-chair' whitening procedures is ZOOM, but is it right for you? Take a look at these 3 case studies
Whitening Toothpaste Reviews
It's very inexpensive and you can get it in most supermarkets, but does it actually work? Read our take on whitening toothpastes here.
Tooth Whitening Strip Reviews
Basic Whitening strips are available in supermarkets, online and in chemists, and have come a long way. Find out if they are right for you right now.
Looking For Professional Teeth Whitening Near You?
Find a reputable dentist to whiten your teeth on our teeth whitening Sydney resource page here.
Locate the right dentist for your teeth via our teeth whitening Melbourne 'best of' page here.
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is the process of removing the built up stains and other discolorations that naturally occur on our teeth. The success of teeth whitening is measured in increments of ‘shades’.
There are two primary ways of achieving whiter teeth: physically or chemically. These methods can either be performed by a professional, or as a DIY treatment you can perform at home.
The physical method involves an abrasive element designed to scrub simply and scrape away the built up stains.
The chemical method utilises a bleaching agent, often in conjunction with a super-bright LED light designed to break down, destroy and remove stains.
Shade for shade, the chemical method is much more effective at whitening teeth than the abrasive method.
As we will soon see, abrasive methods can be useful and are best incorporated into your daily teeth cleaning routine.
At the end of the day when it comes to achieving the whitest teeth possible, chemical methods regularly outperform their abrasive counterparts.
The Benefits of Having your Teeth Whitened
- A Healthier Looking Smile - Regardless of how diligent you are with your teeth cleaning routine, your healthy teeth will gradually become dull and discoloured.
- Ego boost - Make it through your days with the confidence that comes with a brand new, bright, beautiful and impressive smile.
- Early detection of major dental issues - There’s no substitute for regular checkups. However, some professional whitening procedures require a visit to the dentist. Therefore, there is a much better chance of detecting potentially major dental problems early on, before they become a major pain and a major expense.
- The sooner, the better - The longer you wait to have your teeth whitened, the harder it will be to return to a naturally bright shade. It’s never too late to start, but putting it off for no good reason will increase the effort (and expense) required to gain brighter teeth.
- Scientifically backed results - Preliminary studies suggest a strong correlation between whiter, healthier looking teeth, and improved success in job interviews and salary negotiations.
While further studies are required to confirm these results; it’s not difficult to find support for this hypothesis in the world around us. Investing in your smile now could pay big dividends in the future.
The Risks of Having your Teeth Whitened
- Dissatisfaction - You can not make your teeth any whiter than their natural colour. It’s biologically impossible. However, the good news is that your teeth are naturally a very bright shade of white! Individual results will vary, but being realistic and learning about the various methods of teeth whitening will ensure you get exactly what you’re after, and avoid being dissatisfied.
- Sensitivity/pain - Those whose teeth are already very sensitive should proceed with caution. There are methods of whitening sensitive teeth, but they are not as effective as the alternatives. Overuse of any teeth whitening product can lead to increased sensitivity and pain. Always follow manufacturers instructions to ensure your teeth whitening process is safe.
- Addiction - There’s a very real problem, and it’s very similar to body dysmorphic disorder. Known by a few different names, including “bleachorexia”, individuals can develop an unhealthy obsession with teeth whitening. This is often the result of being dissatisfied with the original results, leading to more and more treatments.
Excessive use and having more treatments than the manufacturer recommends will wear down tooth enamel, damage gums, and eventually lead to a duller tooth - the opposite of what was being attempted!
Gain all the benefits and avoid all of these risks by educating yourself before you begin. Learn what works, what doesn’t, and when you should choose one option over the other.
What are my Options?
Educate yourself - keep reading for our quick summary of everything there is to know. Before you do, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you know what you need to learn to ensure you make the best choice!
Why are you Whitening your Teeth in the First Place?
Obviously to get whiter teeth. But why do you want whiter teeth? Is it because you are embarrassed by your smile? Maybe you spend a lot of time in meetings or front of a camera, and you need to look your best 100% of the time. Or maybe you just want to treat yourself and your teeth!
Whatever the case is, work out why you want to whiten your teeth, and you will have a much better chance of choosing the best method designed to give you your desired results.
What is your Budget?
Getting whiter teeth does not always have to be an expensive process. However, some of the professional services that guarantee a truly bright smile with long lasting results can run into the many hundreds of dollars. Starting from as little as $15, those with a minor staining may see a minor improvement.
Remember, understanding why you want your teeth whitened will help set your budget.
How soon do you need to see results?
Many of the available methods of for teeth whitening, such as whitening strips and home whitening kits, can take around at least two weeks before you should expect to see decent results.
If time is of the essence, some of the professional / dentist in-chair there are treatments procedures that are available that can give great results in as little as one hour.
Do you Really need Whiter Teeth?
When all's said and done, you might want whiter teeth, but do you need them?
There is nothing wrong with having your teeth whitened just because you want a better smile. But if you're finding it hard to pay for the treatments, or if you have concerns about becoming addicted to the process, it’s best to reconsider your decisions.
Teeth whitening is safe, and it can help open the doors to your personal and professional life, but make sure that you have considered everything we discuss, and make an informed decision.
Your Teeth Whitening Options
We’ve summarised the available options in one easy to understand resource, covering whitening toothpaste, strips, take home kits and dental chair procedures.
Explore teeth whitening options and products in depth here, or by simply scrolling down for a light overview of each method.
1. Whitening Toothpastes
Cheap, easy to use and widely available, Most people will, at some stage or other, use a whitening toothpaste. It’s the easiest way to incorporate a DIY whitening method into your routine. However, most people are left dissatisfied with the results.
- Incorporate tiny abrasive particles; As you brush, these particles slowly scrape away built up stains.
- Initially very cheap, these are only suitable for those with very light discolouration who only want to go a shade or so whiter.
- Results will only last for as long as the toothpaste is used
- Excessive use will wear down tooth enamel leading to sensitive teeth and a dull appearance.
We've given it a bad wrap, however, it's still a great stepping stone into the world of teeth whitening- read more about the best whitening toothpaste right here.
2. Whitening Strips
When it comes to DIY teeth bleaching, this is often the cheapest option, and what most people start their whitening journey with.
There really is not much too it, however the results leave a lot to be desired for.
- Simply consisting of a thin plastic strip coated on one side with a whitening gel
- Applied daily for approximately 30 minutes, over a 1-2 week period, individuals can expect to achieve a shade or two improvement that will last for up to a few months
- Suitable for those with light to moderate discoloration
- A low starting price makes these the first place people often turn to for teeth whitening
- People are sometimes disappointed with the results and look elsewhere for a better treatment
We recommend you skip this option, however if you would really like to try it read about the best whitening strips on this review page.
3. At-Home Whitening Kits
By far the most popular and effective method of DIY teeth whitening, these kits use a similar whitening agent to the whitening strips but usually come packaged with a small super bright LED light.
- LED light is used to assist the chemical processes involved in breaking down stains and discolouration.
- Great choice for those with moderate to heavy discolouration.
- Remains affordable without delivering mediocre results.
- Promising up to 6, or even 12 shades whiter.
- Results are often seen in one 1 or 2 weeks and can last for up to a year, with at least three months being common.
We've reviewed some of the best home teeth whitening kits in Australia which you can see here.
4. Professional Dentist (in-the-chair) Teeth Whitening
The bees knees of teeth whitening - however the results don't come without their costs. The most popular form of cosmetic whitening at the moment is ZOOM whitening.
- Patients who wish to undergo a professional teeth clean can expect to pay a much larger upfront cost than any other method of teeth whitening.
- The results and treatment times from these methods are far superior to any other treatment available, primarily due to the strength of bleaching agent alongside the more powerful LED light.
- At home kits are regulated to contain a maximum of 6% bleaching agent, whereas the in-chair treatments use concentrations of often 30 to 40% bleaching agent, sometimes more!
- Great results are often achieved after a single hours session, patients regularly achieve the maximum possible brightness, and results can last for one year, sometimes up to three!
We recently featured a few ZOOM whitening case studies including pre-procedure considerations and Zoom teeth whitening reviews - find out more about it here.
Also, if you live in the UK you can still buy amazing teeth whitening products which are becoming more popular by the day. So, if you are interested in buying these home products but live in the United Kingdom, just click the link that we have just provided.
Teeth Whitening Costs - How much should I Expect to Spend?
As we’ve already alluded to: each method comes at a different price.
Before you find out the costs, remember that the initial cost doesn’t necessarily represent overall value - the number of treatments, the success, and time you spend using each method will weigh into your decision making and help you choose the best value for money.
For a more detailed analysis visit our teeth whitening cost summary page, however for an overview of costs the following table serves as a guide (current as of December 2015).
TIME PER DAY
1 hour +
WHEN TO EXPECT RESULTS
HOW LONG RESULTS LAST
As long as they are used
As long as they are used
What About Natural Methods?
People have been seeking whiter teeth for literally thousands of years. Harking back to the days of the ancient Romans who used a naturally occurring solution of ammonia (stale urine!) as mouthwash, through the to the 17th-century barbers who would file away the outer surface of the teeth before applying an acid to whiten them.
(Disclaimer: Many of the ancient Greeks did, in fact, lose their teeth after trying many of their methods of teeth whitening).
Thankfully, today’s modern treatments and technological advancements mean we have much safer, and much more palatable methods of teeth whitening available to us.
These treatments have all been rigorously tested and the Australian market is tightly regulated. Therefore, all of the treatments we've discussed are perfectly safe to use if used correctly.
We get it - it’s understandable that you might want to try natural alternatives first - and we’ll even provide an alternative to using your own urine.... Here’s a few tips, plus some natural methods to obtain and retain whiter teeth:
- Avoid things that stain (or keep in moderation) which includes tea, coffee and red wine, along with cigarettes and alcohol.
- Rinse with apple cider vinegar. Mix a solution of a third apple cider vinegar with water and rinse daily for one minute. This acidic solution will help remove some of the easier to remove light stains (much like urine helped the ancient Romans… But, try not to think of that while you rinse with vinegar…).
- Wear dark clothes. The contrast between your naturally white teeth and your dark clothing will cause your teeth to naturally appear whiter!
- Practice good dental hygiene. Brush twice a day. Floss regularly, and replace your toothbrush at least every three months, or when your current one looked tired and worn down.
- Drink plenty of fluoridated water. The Australian water supply has contained fluoride for a very long time. Scientists quickly understood the benefits that a small amount of fluoride can have for our teeth, from preventing tooth decay to actively repairing weak areas of tooth enamel.
Keeping teeth healthy and strong will help to prevent weak spots and cracks that would otherwise attract and encourage stains from things such as coffee, red wine, etc.
What about baking soda?
There’s a lot of information that suggests you make your own toothpaste using baking soda to whiten your teeth.
However, this works the same way as whitening toothpaste - the baking soda is an abrasive material that actively scrapes away stains, and if used for long enough, will eventually wear down your tooth enamel.
Give it a try if you like, but it might be more effort than it’s worth if you’re looking for whiter teeth.
Still Interested in trying natural methods for Whitening your Teeth? Its worth a shot - providing you consult your dentist before hand.
Will My Health Fund Cover Me?
Australian’s are lucky. Our universal healthcare system - Medicare - ensures that every Australian has access to top quality medical assistance when they need it most.
However, there is a hole that exists in this system for certain elective or cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening!
Private health insurance often fills this hole; it exists to cover you for potential risk and encourage preventative healthcare (to reduce potential risk). There is lots of competition for health coverage in Australia, so you would think that at least some of the great dental insurance providers would offer to cover you for teeth whitening.
Most people will be quick to assume that their private health insurance will cover teeth whitening. However, it's very unlikely that you will be able to find ANYONE who will do so.
As mentioned earlier teeth whitening can be done in one of either two ways; physically, or chemically. Put simply, physical methods scrape away built up stains, and chemical methods dissolve and destroy these stains.
The general scale and polish that your dentist will perform during your routine “check-up and clean” is considered an important part of your dental routine.
The scale and polish both improves the health of your teeth and helps to prevent against future problems (preventative healthcare). As a bonus, the procedure does help to whiten your teeth, slightly.
Most (if not all) health funds that offer general dental will allow you to claim for your regular dental check up and scale and polish. However, always read the fine print, and if in any doubt, call your health insurer to make sure there are no nasty surprises when you go to make your claim.
That about covers it for teeth whitening in Australia. Remember to consult your GP or family dentist before going ahead with any form of teeth whitening, or oral health procedures for that matter.