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Teeth Whitening

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening can be a very successful way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface or damaging it. Usually the original shade of the tooth is whitened to a lighter colour, rather than being turned completely white.

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. As we get older our teeth get darker; partly due to our age but also as a result of the food and drinks that we consume. Tea, coffee, blackcurrant juice, red wine and other foods that have strong colours can have an effect on the overall colour of our teeth. Teeth may also darken as a result of some antibiotics or through smoking. 'Calculus' or tartar can also affect the colour of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the enamel surface or tiny cracks can appear in the teeth which take up stains.

What does teeth whitening involve?

Professional bleaching is the most usual method of teeth whitening. Your dentist will assess you first of all to see whether teeth whitening is suitable for your teeth. They will then tell you about the different options you have for teeth whitening and which will be the most suitable for you.

The most common type of whitening is called 'dentist-supervised home whitening'. You will have trays made specially to fit into your mouth like gum-shields. The whitening gel is then put it in the trays and you will be given a routine to follow at home.

Another option is called 'chair-side whitening'. You will be told if you are suitable for the treatment, and your dentist will supervise it. First the dentist will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect them. They will then apply the whitening product to your teeth, again using a specially made tray.

The 'active ingredient' in the whitening product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel and dentine of the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.

How long does home whitening take?

The total length of the home bleaching treatment varies, depending on how discoloured your teeth are and the shade you want to get to. It can usually be finished within two to four weeks. You may need up to four visits to the dentist. Your dentist will need to make a thin mouth guard and will take impressions for this at the first appointment. Once your dentist has started the treatment, you will need to continue the treatment at home. This means regularly applying the whitening product over two to four weeks, for 30 minutes to one hour at a time. The dentist will discuss with you exactly how long you should keep the tray in your mouth. It is important to follow the instructions that you are given to get the best result.

What other procedures are there?

There is a chair-side 'power whitening' or 'laser whitening' procedure. Although a laser isn't actually used and a Gel is painted onto your teeth and then a light is shone onto the gel to speed up the whitening reaction. During this procedure, a soft material is placed over your gums to protect them.

How long does chair-side power whitening take?

Your dentist will need to assess your teeth to make sure that you are suitable for the treatment. Once it has been agreed, this procedure usually takes about one to two hours.

How long will my teeth stay whiter?

The effects of whitening are thought to 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 your dentist for their opinion before you start the treatment.

What are the side effects?

Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have 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 go to your dentist.

Follow On Care

Many people find that their teeth and gums feel cleaner after 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 your teeth. Don't forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and staining.

The following tips are recommended to help keep your teeth whiter for longer:

      • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice daily day using a fluoride toothpaste.
      • Cut down on your sugary foods and drinks.
      • Visit your dentist every 6 months.

How much does teeth whitening cost?

At Wightwick Dental Practice our prices start from £225.00.

For further information, ask your dentist about our Teeth Whitening Treatments or speak to the receptionist by calling us on 01902 763200.