Have you seen some amazing results that seem to good to be true….

I’m sure you have all seen those extraordinary before and after whitening pictures splashed all over social media that transform those dark and yellow teeth into sparkling pearly whites… Do you want to know if whitening¬†really works and if those results are real?

Firstly, lets chat about the dental profession in New Zealand and the associated marketing with it.

In New Zealand, all dental practitioners are to be licensed and registered every year with the New Zealand Dental Council. Every year we are strictly audited to make sure we are competent and fit to practice, and to make sure we are following the correct procedures and ticking all the right boxes. One of these standards is to make sure our advertising is not false, misleading, or enhanced to make any result or outcome look better than what is realistically expected.

However, many other industries do not have these strict standards and guidelines that they must adhere to, so you will no doubt come across some before and after pictures that show a shocking transformation. A lot of these photos have been edited or photoshopped to enhance the result. It can be quite difficult to tell real from fake, but here are a few signs to look out for:

  • Is the company or provider registered with the NZ Dental Council and holds an Annual Practicing Certificate? Over the years I have heard many a horror stories about whitening treatments gone wrong; where burning, pain, and poor results are the outcome. I always ask ‘was this person registered with the NZ Dental Council’ and their reply is usually ‘yes they had a certificate on the wall from the New Zealand Teeth Whitening Association’. Unfortunately, to be a member of this association you do not need to be a registered and licensed dental professional. More often than not these members are from the beauty, hairdressing, or cosmetic industries.
  • Look at the colour of the gums in each photo. Often this is a clear giveaway that a filter has been used. The gum should be the same shade in each picture.
  • Sometimes the ‘√°fter’ photos are taken without a retractor in (whereas the ‘before’ photo uses a retractor). This is a trick used to cover up the colour of the gums, and to make the teeth appear whiter as they lie adjacent to the lips, similar to how red lipstick can make teeth appear whiter.
  • Remember whitening is a process. You don’t often get the whitest teeth possible from one quick appointment. It can take time and commitment.
  • If the result seems too good to be true – it probably is.


No matter how much whitening one person does, teeth do not go paper white. It is not possible. We get so used to seeing celebrities and influences on social media with amazing perfect white teeth that we start thinking that is what is normal looks like, but it is not reality. Often perfect white looking teeth will be veneered, or a filter used.

Lets get your teeth looking the healthiest and brightest they can be, naturally.

Click here for more information on teeth whitening.