There are an abundance of teeth whitening products on the market promising to remove stubborn stains and brighten your smile.

However, teeth whitening products need to be approached with caution. Not all over-the-counter options work equally well for everyone, and some can even be potentially harmful.

If you want a whiter smile, you should speak to your dentist before using any new product on your teeth. They might even be able to prescribe a professional home whitening treatment that's designed specifically for you.

In most cases, professional home whitening kits prescribed by your dentist work can more effectively than over-the-counter whitening treatments due to the higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide used.

How does home teeth whitening work?

Even if your dentist offers in-chair whitening at their clinic, you might still prefer the convenience of home teeth whitening.

This usually involves a take-home whitening kit that your dentist provides, which includes a whitening solution and a tray to be worn over your teeth. Your dentist will give you precise instructions on how to use this kit safely and for the best results.

To use the kit, you simply fill the tray with the whitening solution and place it over your teeth for as long as your dentist recommends. This depends on how much whitening is needed and certain other factors.

Most people reach their desired level of whiteness within two weeks, using the tray for between 30 minutes and one hour every day or every two days.

Unlike over-the-counter products, the kit supplied by your dentist will be tailored for your personal needs. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to create a custom-fitted tray, helping the whitening solution to distribute more evenly. The whitening solution itself can also be adjusted, depending on the strength needed.

Is it safe?

Your dentist will check that you're a suitable candidate for teeth whitening during your consultation. They'll also make sure you understand the possible side-effects, which can include increased teeth sensitivity for up to a few days following the treatment.

You'll receive detailed instructions from your dentist on how to use your take-home whitening kit safely, to avoid any problems. Using it incorrectly can cause permanent damage if the whitening solution comes into contact with your gums for an extended time.

The Dental Board of Australia requires that whitening products with more than a 6% concentration of bleaching agents should only be used by a qualified dental practitioner. This is specifically why over-the counter treatments have reduced concentration levels compared with prescribed treatments.[1]

How can I keep my teeth white after whitening?

Home teeth whitening isn't a permanent treatment, and depending on your individual situation and how well you look after your teeth, you may decide to have a follow-up treatment after six months or a year.

You can help your teeth to stay whiter for longer by:

  • avoiding food and drink that causes stains (coffee, tea, red wine, blueberries)
  • avoiding acidic food and drinks that can damage your tooth enamel
  • quitting smoking
  • following good oral hygiene.

Where can I find out more?

If you're interesIn-chair teeth whiteningted in home teeth whitening in Perth's Northern Suburbs, get in touch with Ocean Reef Dental Surgery. Our dentists can provide a take-home whitening kit that's tailored just for you.

Alternatively, if you're interested in professional whitening done at our practice, book your consultation to see if you're eligible today.

Call our dental clinic on (08) 9307 6700 or make an enquiry online.

[1] Australian Dental Association. Policy Statement 2.2.8 – Community Oral Health Promotion: Teeth Whitening (Bleaching) By Persons Other Than Dental Practitioners [Online] 25 Feb 2017 [Accessed April 2017]. Available from:

[1] Australian Dental Association. Policy Statement 2.2.8 – Community Oral Health Promotion: Teeth Whitening (Bleaching) By Persons Other Than Dental Practitioners [Online] 25 Feb 2017 [Accessed April 2017]. Available from: