Common Teeth Whitening Questions

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Common Teeth Whitening Questions

We get asked many questions but the most common ones are about teeth whitening. So I though I would answer some of the most common questions we get asked about.

What causes tooth discolouration?

Everyone’s teeth are unique and discolour and stain in different ways discolouration can be caused by stains on the surface or by changes inside the tooth.  There are 3 main types of discolouration.


This is when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. This is mainly caused by things such as

  • Black tea
  • Coffee
  • Herbal tea
  • Red wine
  • Spicy foods such as curry
  • Smoking cigarettes / cigars


This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. You can get this type of discoloration if:

  • You had too much exposure to fluoride during early childhood.
  • Your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy.
  • You used tetracycline antibiotics when you were 8 years old or younger.
  • You had trauma that affected a tooth when you were a young child. A fall, for example, may damage the developing permanent tooth.
  • You had trauma in a permanent tooth, and internal bleeding discoloured the tooth.
  • You were born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta. This causes grey, amber or purple discolorations


This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Foods and smoking also can stain teeth as people get older. Finally, chips or other injuries can discolour a tooth, especially when the pulp has been damaged.

How does tooth whitening work

We use a professional grade tooth whitening system called Pola.  There are various products in there range to suit everyone’s needs.  We use Pola office plus in the Dental chair and Pola Day to use at home as a Take home kit.

When either Pola office plus of Pola day is applied to the tooth, it breaks down into water and oxygen ions. The oxygen ions enter the enamel and attack the long stain molecules to effectively break them down to be short and colourless. These short and colourless molecules are then naturally removed from the tooth by saliva. The intensity of whitening is related to the number of oxygen ions available and the length of time they are on the tooth.

The main difference between pharmacy/over the counter products and Professional Dental products is the amount of hydrogen peroxide, which is the active ingredient they contain.


The amount of active ingredient dictates the strength of the product and the duration required to apply it to your tooth to achieve the desired whitening effect.

Is it a long process?

In-chair teeth whitening at Mendelsohn Dental on Royal only takes 60 minutes.  So it is a quick and safe way to whitening your teeth, with highly skilled and experienced professional staff administering it while you lay back in comfort.

Professional dental grade take home kits are also an easy and convenient option.  You apply the products for 30 minutes a day, until you achieve the desired whitening outcome desired (normally 7-10 days).

How long does the treatment last?

The treatment is permanent.  You just need to maintain good oral hygiene.  If you continue to consume staining products you may need to apply top ups every nown and then to maintain you brighter whitening new smile.

Is it safe?

Yes.  POLA Professional Dental whitening is safe. Clinical studies have shown that bleaching with hydrogen under the application of a dentist, is safe for teeth and gums.


If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask at your next appointment or give us a call on 9225 6564.


Heidi Mendelsohn -Practice Manager

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