Tooth whitening explained

Teeth whitening

21 Jan Tooth whitening explained

What Is Tooth Whitening And How Does It Work?

Very few people have brilliant white teeth and as we get older our teeth can become more stained and discoloured. Tooth whitening is a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing or damaging the tooth surface.

Whilst tooth whitening can’t make your teeth brilliant white, it can lighten the existing colour by several shades and make you feel more confident about your smile.

Tooth whitening explained

Tooth whiteners contain bleaching chemicals (usually hydrogen peroxide) that once applied to the teeth get down into the tooth enamel and set off a chemical reaction that breaks apart the staining compounds.

Tooth whitening options

Your dentist can lighten your teeth in one of two ways:

  1. Home bleaching – your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a mouth-guard and will instruct you how to use it with a bleaching gel. Using your mouth-guard at home, you regularly apply the gel for a specified period of time over two to four weeks.
  2. Laser treatment – your dentist paints a bleaching solution      onto your teeth and then shines a light or laser on them to activate the  whitening. Laser whitening takes about an hour.

Home bleaching kits are also available from some pharmacies but these are not recommended. Often the home kits do not contain enough of the whitening product to be effective and the mouth-guard provided may not fit properly allowing some of the bleaching gel to leak out onto your gums and into your mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity.

Tooth whitening results

Tooth whitening techniques can make teeth up to 11 shades lighter. However, the effect isn’t permanent, lasting anything from a few months to up to three years. Generally, the whitening effect won’t last as long if you smoke or drink red wine, tea or coffee, which can all stain your teeth.

Teeth that have been stained by antibiotics such as tetracycline are harder to whiten as the tooth enamel itself has been discoloured. Tooth whitening won’t work on dentures, crowns, fillings or veneers.

Safety of tooth whitening

Over a decade of research has proven bleaching and other whitening methods to be both safe and effective. The British Dental Association says that tooth whitening is perfectly safe if carried out by a trained dental professional.

To find out if tooth whitening is appropriate for your teeth, call us today on 01395 225600 to book a tooth whitening consultation.

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