teeth whitening Training FAQ - Module 2

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We’re here to assist you to provide excellent customer service to your clients.  To help you with those difficult questions here are our latest client questions and answers.  Reading this will ensure you offer your clients the best possible service.


Q. If I am asked what qualifications I have to offer teeth whitening, how do I answer?

A. There are no official credentials for teeth whitening in Australia.  Generally, dentists receive vendor training just like you.  Let your client know you have done a training course in self-administered cosmetic teeth whitening and are insured to provide the procedure.  (Make sure you have your insurance up to date at all times).


Q. How many times per year can a client have in-chair teeth whitening treatment?

A. The ADIA recommend it is safe to have a teeth whitening treatment up to 3 times a year.  Performed this often however you may only need one or two 20 minute session for maximum results.  The results achieved will not be as impressive and could be as little as one or two shades when done this regularly.


Q. My client wants their teeth whiter, when can they have another teeth whitening treatment?

There are no exact times given for the time in between treatment, however, about 3-4 months is as often as would be necessary.  These times are a recommendation and not a rule so you can be a little flexible.

Keep in mind your client’s teeth will only whiten to the colour they were originally grown.  Teeth whitening is a stain removal process and results are subjective as each client is different and so is their lifestyle.  Your client will not necessarily be able to get the tooth colour they want as this may not be achievable with whitening.  The paperwhite teeth seen on TV are actually veneers, not natural teeth.


Q. My client wants movie-star white teeth is it possible to achieve with teeth whitening?

A. Teeth whitening is a will remove stains from teeth and return them to the original colour they were before they were stained.  Movie star white teeth unless this was the client’s original colour can only be created with porcelain veneers or composite bonding.  No whitening treatment no matter who performs it can achieve this.


Q. What’s the benefit of using an accelerator lamp with the teeth whitening gel?

A. Using an led teeth whitening machine accelerates the teeth whitening gel, causing it to react faster when breaking down stains.  What this means for your client is they can achieve the same result as would normally take weeks of daily treatment with whitening gel alone in a one-hour treatment.  The use of the accelerator lamp speeds up the process of the molecular breakdown of the whitening gel which makes the oxidization of the stains occur more rapidly. There are several benefits for your client to using this process: they only need to do the white diet once instead of for weeks.  The client gets instant results and less risk of sensitivity.  Most clients using home treatments get bored with the process before they attain maximum results.


Q. Why is a peroxide teeth whitening treatment done in 2-3 x 20-minute sessions instead of all at once?

A. After about 20 minutes the peroxide gel ‘peaks’.  This means it has completed the reaction for that application and very little stain breakdown will occur from this point.  This is why it is important to completely remove one application prior to applying the next one.


Q. If you offer a 3rd or 4th 20-minute teeth whitening session will the clients teeth lighten anymore?

A. Teeth whitening can only bleach the stains on the surface of the teeth it will not whiten the enamel.  This is the case no matter how many treatments or how strong the lamp of gel is.  Additional treatments will only improve the results if there are still stains on the surface of the teeth.


Q. What if the teeth whitening gel is left on longer than 20 minutes?

A. Leaving it on slightly longer is of little benefit.  Keep in mind the cheek retractors are not very comfortable for your client so the less time they have to wear it the better.  Leaving the gel much longer than necessary isn’t just ineffectual but it can cause aggravation both to teeth and gums.


Q. What happens if a client has a reaction to the teeth whitening treatment? 

A. We have never had a serious reaction from our gels.  The strength of the peroxide is within legal limits for non-dental practitioners.  If a client does have a reaction it is unlikely to be serious.  In the unlikely event, treatment is required our labelling is compliant with regulations which include a phone number for the Poisons Information Centre – 24 Hour Telephone Advice Line 13 11 26.  Your starter system includes a client consent form which will assist in the prevention of contraindications.


Q. Can the client use lip balm before the teeth whitening treatment?

A. It is a good idea for your client to use a lip moisturizer, especially in the colder months when the skin is dry as it can help prevent cracked lips.  Just ensure your client doesn’t get any on their teeth or the whitening gel will not be able to penetrate properly.  A balm that is not tinted, coloured or perfumed is best.


Q. Can the leftover teeth whitening gel pen be offered to the client as a home treatment? 

A. If the client purchases a home kit you could give them the remaining gel but ideally, it is better to throw it away if they don’t as a mouth guard is required to protect the soft tissue of the mouth.  There will also be very little gel left in the pen after the treatment.


Q. Is teeth whitening suitable for smokers?

A. Smokers will definitely benefit from teeth whitening treatment. In some cases where there is visible tar buildup on the teeth it the client should have the scale removed by a dentist prior to having a teeth whitening treatment.

Treatments with the combination of non-peroxide followed by two or three twenty-minute peroxide treatments can be very beneficial for smokers stains.  You may like to charge an additional fee for this treatment as you will require 2 lots of product.


Q. Will teeth whitening work if the client has bad tar and nicotine stains on their teeth?

A. As this is a physical substance on the surface of the teeth, not a stain, it should be removed by a dentist prior to a whitening treatment.  If the client does not want to do this they can still have a treatment and their teeth will be improved however it is important they understand much of the tar will remain.  The tar may even whiten; however, as it is highly porous it will only take a short time for the build-up to appear again.  Please ensure your client understands this prior to the treatment.


Q. How long does a client have to wait after having their braces removed before having a teeth whitening treatment?

A. There is no harm doing a treatment straight after braces are removed however the results may not be ideal.  The cement residue from the braces can last for 3-6 months.  It is best to allow at least this time to ensure the teeth whitening treatment has a clean tooth surface to work on.  If there is still cement on the teeth no whitening will occur where the cement residue is resulting in a patchy result.


Q. Can my client have a teeth whitening if they have a wire behind their teeth?

A. It is always best they check with their dentist first.  The paint on the method is usually okay as the gel is only applied to the front of the teeth and should not make contact with the wire negating any issue.


Q. Can someone with teeth jewellery have a teeth whitening treatment?

A. It is best to do a treatment without anything on the teeth as the whitening gel will be unable to penetrate the area behind the jewel, leaving it stained.


Q. Will teeth whitening work on grey teeth?

A. Grey is the least likely colour to benefit from teeth whitening.  It depends on why the teeth are grey.  If it is from surface staining due to diet then yes.  If it is intrinsic (inside the tooth’s structure below the enamel) then teeth whitening will not help with this particular problem.  Teeth whitening will still whiten the stains on the enamel improving the overall appearance of the teeth.  Intrinsic stains are generally caused by medication or nerve damage to the tooth and will not benefit from teeth whitening.


Q. Do teeth continue to whiten after the teeth whitening treatment is done?

A. Once the treatment is finished the client’s teeth will not continue to whiten.  In most cases one treatment (3×20 minute sessions) will give your client maximum results, meaning the stains on the surface of their teeth have been bleached and the teeth are as white as they will go.  Teeth whitening will not bleach the enamel only the stains on the surface of the teeth.


Q. If someone is allergic to peroxide can they use a non-peroxide teeth whitening treatment?

A. We would not recommend it as most bleaching agents break down into elements including peroxide as they work.


Q. Can I use a Non-peroxide teeth whitening product for someone with gum disease?

A. If someone has gum disease it is best not to offer them a treatment with any product and suggest they visit their dentist.


Q. Are fluorosis spots caused by teeth whitening and how long will it last? 

A. The client will have already had fluorosis teeth whitening will not cause this.  The colour variation will always fade, generally in a few hours and it is unlikely it will last longer than 24 hours.


Q. Some clients complain teeth whitening cheek retractors are uncomfortable.  Also sometimes my clients top or bottom lip hangs over their teeth, what can I do about that?

A. The cheek retractors can be uncomfortable but there are options to help.   We provide a free small and large cheek retractor with kit orders of five or more.  Use the largest size possible to avoid the lip covering the teeth.  If this occurs try a larger cheek retractor.  If the cheek retractor is too tight or difficult to insert into the mouth try a smaller size.  Silicone mouth trays are also available which are more comfortable and easier to insert but can reduce the results slightly.


Q. I have had clients get blisters inside their lips after the teeth whitening treatment, what can I do? 

A. Blisters can be avoided by ensuring the gel doesn’t come in contact with the soft tissue of the mouth.  The incidence of blisters can increase in people with lip filler or who have recently had lip tattoo.  In relation to filler, we are not sure if this is due to a reaction with the products used in the filler or if it is simply because the lips are larger and more likely to come in contact with the gel on the teeth.  When blisters do occur they usually heal in 2-3 days.  Here are things to check to avoid blisters or sensitivity during the teeth whitening treatment:-

1.  Ensure the gel does not get on the lips and gums.

2.  Make sure the cheek retractor being used is large enough to keep the lips from touching the gel on the teeth.

3.  Always make sure the client is fully reclined.  If they are not fully reclined they can drool and this can wash the gel onto the soft tissue.

4.  Make sure the client rinses thoroughly and brushes away any remaining gel with a toothbrush (no toothpaste) at the end of the treatment to ensure no gel is left in the mouth.

5.  At the end of the treatment get the client to apply the vitamin e to the inner and outer area of their lips and gums.


Q. What is the difference in between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide?

A. Carbamide is hydrogen peroxide it has just been combined with urea.  This causes a dilution of 3:1.  Carbamide peroxide is also slower-acting making the treatment time longer.  Hydrogen peroxide offers more direct delivery and ultimately better results.


Q. How long does peroxide teeth whitening gel last and how do I store it?

A. In general, the shelf life of peroxide whitening gel is around 12 months if stored correctly.  We recommend you ensure your gel doesn’t go above 20 degrees at any time as this will reduce its potency.  Always store your gel in the fridge to maximise the shelf life.  Please remove the gel from the fridge at least 1 hour before the treatment as cold gel will be less active.


Q. I know it is best to store the teeth whitening gel under 20 degrees but what happens if it gets hotter than that?  

A. An increase in temperature will increase the natural rate of decomposition of the peroxide reducing the effectiveness.  This means the warmer the product the faster it will reach the use-by date.  Stored in the fridge peroxide can remain effective for up to 1 year, however, we recommend using the products within 3 months to ensure the best results.