Many celebrities have experienced how effective tooth whitening can be and it is one of the most popular dental treatments available today. But what exactly is tooth whitening and what is involved?
What is whitening and does it damage or weaken the teeth?
Whitening alters the front surface or pellicle of the enamel lightening the colour and then the patients own saliva returns the enamel to full strength. Some patients outer enamel can be tougher to penetrate than others which explains why some patients need longer courses of whitening.
Which is the best method?
Research shows that home whitening gives you the best long term results. We provide custom designed whitening trays which are expertly constructed in a laboratory based on moulds of your teeth. These are worn at home at a time that is convenient to you, the benefit of this method is that you have full control as to how white your teeth get.
Can it make my teeth sensitive?
Patients can experience some sensitivity in the short term but this will always go away and can be helped by putting de-sensitising toothpaste into the same whitening trays for 10 to 30 minutes.
How long will the whitening last?
Every patient is different – Normally the more they come into contact with tea, coffee, red wine or if the patient smokes the more likely it is for the whiteness will fade. Often a good clean and polish with the hygienist will restore the original brightness. If necessary we can provide you with more whitening gel.
When do you stop whitening?
Ideally when the your teeth colour matches the whites of your eyes – this will look natural. If your teeth go much whiter in can look unnatural/fake.
Are whitening toothpastes any good?
Some patients feel they have noticed improvements, which is great. But any literature will state that the active component must be very weak as some patients may get carried away and use several tubes and actually damage their teeth/gums. This is why we prescribe patients individually with the right product for them.
Is whitening for everyone?
Whitening will not lighten crowns, veneers or bridges. It will have little effect in improving stained white fillings. We suggest whitening teeth before considering any future cosmetic work as we can then match the colour of for example a new crown to your new lighter tooth shade.
Patients who have generally sensitive teeth would be advised to steer clear of whitening as the process may be very uncomfortable.