What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening can be a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface.
Why would I need my teeth whitened?
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 through food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and blackcurrant. Smoking can also stain teeth.
Calculus or tartar can also affect the colour of 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.
How long will my teeth stay whiter?
The effects of whitening can last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. Ask our dentist for their opinion before you start the treatment.
What does the procedure involve?
a) Home care whitening: for this procedure the dentist will take some impressions or moulds and make you a set of custom trays which can be used at home to apply the tooth whitening gel. The trays are worn for around 1-2 hours per day for a period of around 2 weeks for maximum results.
b) In chair power whitening: for this procedure the dentist will first protect your gums and other soft tissues. The whitening gel is then applied to the surfaces of the teeth to be whitened and a light is shone onto the gel to activate it. This procedure will take around 1 hour and is therefore a much quicker method.
What are the side effects?
Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others report discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing.
If any of these side effects continue you should see our dentist.
What about home kits sold online and at stores?
Because tooth whitening is a complicated procedure we would advise that you always consult our dentist prior to undertaking treatment.
Home kits tend to be cheaper. However, kits sold to non-professionals 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 several whitening toothpastes on the market. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they may be effective at removing staining and therefore may improve the overall appearance of your teeth. Whitening toothpaste may also help the effect last, once your teeth have been professionally whitened.
When might tooth whitening not work?
Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour. Also it only works on natural teeth. It will not work on any types of ‘false’ teeth such as dentures, crowns and veneers. It will also not work on fillings. If your dentures are stained or discoloured visit our dentist and ask for them to be cleaned. Stained veneers, crowns or dentures may need replacing; again ask our dentist.
How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened?
You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drink you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouring and staining.
We recommend the following tips to care for your teeth:
- brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks
- visit our dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
What is cosmetic stain removal?
This is a procedure carried out by our dentist or dental hygienist (also known as Jet polishing) which aims to remove most if not all of the superficial stains on your teeth, giving them a brighter appearance. It is a cheaper alternative to tooth whitening but can still be very effective, particularly if your teeth are very stained. Stains can build up from certain food stuffs, coffee, tea, red wine and excessive use of Corsodyl mouthwash. Smoking can also stain your teeth. See stain removal section.
Financial considerations should not be an obstacle to a beautiful smile for the rest of your life. Therefore, our practice offers a wide range of payment options including 0% interest monthly payment plan. The cost of treatment will vary from patient to patient. Please ask a member of our team for more information, or book a complimentary consultation.