Teeth Whitening is an effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth’s surface. In some cases it can make a complete colour change while in other cases we can achieve a result a few shades whiter. There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discoloured as we get older.
Your teeth can also be stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and blackcurrant. Smoking will also stain teeth. ‘Calculus’ or tartar also affects the colour of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains.
If you are considering a few Dental Crowns or Veneers to restore the appearance of your Smile line you may also consider Teeth Whitening before choosing your Crown/ Veneer colour to create an overall Brighter/ Whiter Smile line.
What does Teeth Whitening involve?
Professional bleaching is the most usual method of Teeth Whitening. First the dentist will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect them. The Dentist will then apply the Whitening product to your teeth. The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
For those looking for a much whiter smile in a very short period of time, Laser Teeth Whitening is one of the fastest Whitening systems available in the world. Here, a higher concentration of Whitening gel is applied to the teeth and activated with a high intensity plasma arc light. At the end of the appointment there is a noticeable change in the colour of your teeth. In most cases we carry out this treatment in 2 sessions (each session is 40 minutes) to achieve the maximum result.
Is the procedure painful?
No, your gum line will be protected with a gel to ensure the Whitening product does not touch the gum line itself. Following the procedure your teeth may become sensitive to hot and cold for a day or two as the Whitening product continues to work for 24-48 hours following the treatment time. Any sensitivity will disappear within a day or two.
How long does the treatment take?
The length of the treatment time varies from patient to patient according to the strength on your enamel. As a general rule we make two sessions of the Whitening treatment with each session lasting 40 minutes.
Teeth Whitening Home Kits, Do they work?
Home kits seem to be a cheaper however there are risks with the application as your gums are not effectively covered before the gel is applied (which can cause long term gum damage). As you do not have a personal gum shield the Whitening product is not in direct contact with your teeth therefore it has little or no effect to the end result that is achieved. **Many kits sold over the internet do not contain enough of the whitening product to be effective and some kits sold over the internet may contain mild acids and abrasives.
What about Whitening Toothpastes?
There are many Whitening toothpastes available in all major supermarkets and chemists. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they may be effective at removing staining. Whitening toothpaste may also help the effect to last, once your teeth have been professionally whitened.
Can a single tooth which has been root filled be whitened?
Sometimes many dead teeth become discoloured after a root filling. If the tooth has been root treated and the tooth is darkened the Whitening procedure will have little or no effect. The only alternative is to have a single Dental Crown or Veneer on the tooth.
When Teeth Whitening may not work?
Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour therefore it only works on your natural teeth. It will not work on any types of ‘false’ teeth such as Dentures, Crowns and Veneers. If you took certain types of Antibiotics as a child and your teeth have Tetracycline stains the Teeth Whitening process may only work slightly or not at all.
**If your dentures are stained or discoloured visit your dentist and ask for them to be cleaned.
How can I look after my teeth following my Teeth Whitening procedure?
You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drink you consume which can stain your teeth (the most common foods that stain are: Beetroot and Blackcurrants and the most common drinks that stain are: Tea, Coffee and Red Wine. If you are a smoker, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and tooth staining.
We recommend the following tips to care for your teeth:
Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks. Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.