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What is Tooth Whitening?
Teeth whitening involves bleaching of your teeth to make them lighter. It can’t make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several time.
Who can do teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be carried out by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental therapist. Teeth whitening is ideal for people who have healthy, unrestored teeth (no fillings) and gums. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best. But this cosmetic procedure is not recommended for everyone.
What happens during teeth whitening?
If you have your teeth whitened you’ll need to make several visits to the dental surgery over a couple of months.
The dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a customised tray and tell you how to use it with a bleaching gel. Then, using your tray at home, you regularly apply the gel for a specified period of time over 2 to 4 weeks.
Laser whitening, also known as in practice whitening, is another type of teeth whitening system that a dentist can provide. A bleaching product is applied onto your teeth and then a light or laser is shone on them to activate the whitening. Laser whitening takes about 2 hours.
How Long Do Whitening Effects Last?
Teeth whitening is not permanent. People who expose their teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain may be able to wait one year or longer before another whitening treatment or touch-up is needed.
The degree of whiteness will vary from individual to individual depending on the condition of the teeth, the level of staining and the type of bleaching system used.
Should You Whiten Your Teeth?
Whitening is not recommended or will be less successful in the following circumstances:
Age and pregnancy issues. Bleaching is not recommended in children under the age of 16. This is because the pulp chamber, or nerve of the tooth, is enlarged until this age. Teeth whitening under this condition could irritate the pulp or cause it to become sensitive. Teeth whitening is also not recommended in pregnant or lactating women.
Sensitive Teeth and allergies. Individuals with sensitive teeth and gums, receding gums, and/or defective restorations should consult with their dentist prior to using a tooth-whitening system. Anyone allergic to peroxide (the whitening agent) should not use a bleaching product.
Gum disease, worn enamel, cavities, and exposed roots. Individuals with gum disease or teeth with worn enamel are generally discouraged from undergoing a tooth-whitening procedure. Cavities need to be treated before undergoing any whitening procedure. This is because the whitening solutions penetrate into any existing decay and the inner areas of the tooth, which can cause sensitivity. Also, whitening procedures will not work on exposed tooth roots, because roots do not have an enamel layer.
Fillings, crowns, and other restorations. Tooth-coloured fillings and resin composite materials used in dental restorations (crowns, veneers, bonding, bridges) do not whiten. Therefore, using a whitening agent on teeth that contain restorations will result in uneven whitening — in this case, making the teeth without restorations appear lighter than those with restorations. Any whitening procedure should be done prior to the placement of restorations.
People with numerous restorations that would result in uneven whitening may be better off considering bonding, veneers, or crowns rather than a tooth whitening system. Ask your dentist what strategy is best for you.
Unrealistic expectations. Individuals who expect their teeth to be a new “blinding white” may be disappointed with their results. Smokers need to be aware that their results will be limited unless they refrain from continued smoking, particularly during the bleaching process. A healthy guide to is to achieve a shade slightly whiter than the whites of your eyes.
Darkly stained teeth. Yellowish teeth respond well to bleaching, brownish-coloured teeth respond less well and greyish-hue or purple stained teeth may not respond to bleaching at all. Blue-grey staining caused by the antibiotic tetracycline is more difficult to lighten and may require up to six months of home treatments or several in-office appointments to successfully lighten.
Teeth that have dark stains may be better candidates for another lightening option, such as veneers, bonding, or crowns. Your dentist can discuss the options best suited for you.
Risks Associated With Whitening
The two side effects that occur most often with teeth whitening are a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity and mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth, particularly the gums. Tooth sensitivity often occurs during early stages of the bleaching treatment. Tissue irritation most commonly results from an ill-fitting mouthpiece tray rather than the tooth-bleaching agent. Both of these conditions usually are temporary and disappear within 1 to 3 days of stopping or completing treatment.
To learn more about our tooth whitening procedures email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a consultation