Tooth whitening is popular cosmetic treatment. As we grow older our teeth generally become naturally darker in shade. Teeth can also be made darker by our eating and drinking habits e.g. tea, coffee, red wine and cigarettes can all cause staining. However, tooth whitening is a simple, yet highly effective procedure to lighten teeth.
At our practice we offer, take-home whitening kit. To get started you attend for a short appointment for us to take impressions of your teeth. We then send these impressions to the lab and have custom made trays made for you and send you home with syringes of whitening gel. The trays are made to fit only your teeth and have little wells for the gel to be applied allowing for maximum coverage and minimum leakage. The beauty of this method is that you are in control. Once you have achieved the tooth shade you want you can stop using the gels. Whatever you have left can be used when you feel your teeth are becoming darker again. If the trays are looked properly after they can last for years. All you have to do is visit us and purchase some more syringes of whitening gel.
CUSTOM MADE DEEP BLEACHING TRAYS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE FROM A DENTIST.
If tooth whitening is something you are interested in please do not hesitate to book in for a consultation [email protected]. We can discuss if tooth whitening is appropriate for you.
Tooth whitening can be a highly effective, yet very simple way, of lightening the colour of teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. It cannot make a colour change, but lightens the existing colour.
In a live tooth the dentist applies the whitening product using a specially made tray which fits into the mouth like a gum shield. The chemical is then activated using heat, or heat and light combined. The active ingredient in the product is normally hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
If the tooth has been root treated, the canal, which previously contained the nerve, may be reopened and the whitening product is put in.
In both cases, the procedure needs to be repeated until the right shade is reached.
First of all you will need 2 or 3 visits to your dentist. Your dentist will need to make a mouthguard and will need to take impressions for this at the first appointment. Once your dentist has started the treatment, you will have to continue the treatment at home. This will mean applying the bleach regularly over 2-4 weeks for 30 minutes to 1 hour at a time.
However, some newer products can be applied for up to 8 hours at a time, which means that a satisfactory result can be obtained in as little as 1 week.
Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour varies, so do our teeth. Some teeth have a yellowish tinge, some are more beige – very few are actually ‘white’. Teeth also yellow with age can become stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee and blackcurrant. Calculus (tartar) can also affect the colour of the teeth. Some people may have staining inside their teeth. This can be caused by certain antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth, which take up the stain.
Treatment results may vary depending on the original shade of the teeth. Teeth will tend to darken slightly over time. The effect lasts for around 1 to 3 years, although sometimes it can last longer. Some people find that their teeth are sensitive for the first few days after treatment, but this wears off after a short while.
Over-the-counter kits are not recommended as they contain only a small amount of hydrogen peroxide which makes the product less effective. Some also contain mild acids, while others are abrasive. Although these products are cheaper, whitening is a complicated treatment procedure and should only be carried out by a dentist after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth. It is very important to follow the instructions your dentist gives you, and to make sure that you go for any follow-up appointments recommended.
Whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour. For a change to specific chosen shade veneering is another option. Whitening also works on natural teeth. It will not work on any type of 'false’ teeth. This includes dentures, crowns and veneers. If dentures are stained or discoloured, it may be worth visiting the dentist and asking him or her to clean them. Stained veneers, crowns and dentures may need replacing. Again, ask your dentist.
There are now several whitening toothpastes you can buy. Although they do not affect the natural colour of the tooth, they are effective at removing staining and therefore improving the overall appearance of the tooth. Whitening toothpaste may also help to keep up the appearance, once teeth have been professionally whitened.
For more infomation please see our Whitening Leaflet.