Tooth Whitening in Charlbury, Oxfordshire

Charlbury Dental Practice
The Spendlove Centre, Enstone Road, Charlbury, Oxfordshire OX7 3PQ

cosmetic dentistry » tooth whitening

Tooth whitening can be a highly effective yet very simple way of lightening the colour of teeth without harming them.

What does the procedure involve?

The most common, effective and cost effective method is tray whitening. Your dentist will take an impression of your mouth and use this to make a tray which fits into your mouth like a gum shield. You will be instructed how to apply the whitening gel using the tray. The tray is worn with the gel for a few hours each day, usually at night while sleeping, for about 3 weeks or until the desired shade is achieved.

How long does the procedure take?

You will need 2 or 3 visits to your dentist. At your first appointment your dentist will check your teeth to make sure there is no active decay or leaking fillings. If there is, or if you need to see the hygienist for professional cleaning, this will be dealt with first. If all is well, the next step is to take impressions for the trays to be made.

At your next appointment you will be given all the material, advice and instructions you need to proceed over the next 2-4 weeks or so.

Why should I whiten my teeth?

Everyone is different and, just as our hair and skin colour varies, so do our teeth. Some teeth have a yellowish tinge, some are more beige – very few are actually ‘white’. But the main problem is that teeth tend to darken with age as well as becoming stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine. There could also be tiny cracks in the tooth enamel which take up the stain.

Will I be happy with the results?

The vast majority of patients are very pleased with the results they see. However treatment results can vary depending on the original shade of the teeth. In some cases it may take longer than the usual 3 weeks to achieve a good result. For example, if your teeth are dark because you had the antibiotic tetracycline at an early age, then you may need to continue treatment for a lot longer until you are happy with the result.

The effect lasts for about 2 years. Since your teeth will tend to darken slightly over time, we recommend “topping up” the whitening with your trays and gel once or twice a year to maintain the whiter shade you have achieved.

Is it painful?

Some people find that their teeth are sensitive during treatment and for the first few days afterwards. This does wear off after a short while and there are ways of reducing the sensitivity, if needed, during the treatment. Your dentist will advise you about this.

What about ‘over the counter’ home kits?

Over-the-counter kits are not recommended. Anything bought over the counter will only contain a tiny amount of hydrogen peroxide, not enough to make any significant difference to the shade of your teeth. Some products, in particular those available on the internet, may also contain mild acids or abrasives which will actively damage tooth enamel. Whitening is a complex treatment procedure and should only be carried out by a dentist after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth. It is very important to follow the instructions your dentist gives you and to make sure that you go for any recommended follow-up appointments.

When might whitening not work?

Whitening can only lighten your tooth colour and it works only on natural teeth. Whitening will not work on any fillings, crowns, veneers or bridges. If these are stained or the wrong colour, they may need replacing after the whitening treatment, especially if they are visible restorations. Your dentist will advise you about this before you begin.

What about whitening toothpaste?

There are now several whitening toothpastes you can buy. Although they do not affect the natural colour of the tooth, they can be effective in removing staining and therefore in improving the overall appearance of the teeth.

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