Everyone is uniquely different. And just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Some teeth have a yellowish tinge, whilst some are more beige – but very few are actually ‘white’.
Teeth naturally tend to darken with age and become stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine. Tiny cracks in the tooth enamel may also take up staining and make it more pronounced.
Tooth whitening can be a highly effective yet very simple way of lightening the colour of teeth without harming them.
Whitening is a complex treatment and should only be carried out by a dentist after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth.
Over-the-counter teeth whitening kits only contain a tiny amount of whitening agent that is not enough to make any significant difference to the shade of your teeth. In addition, internet-bought whitening products may also contain mild acids or abrasives which can actively damage tooth enamel.
Whitening can only lighten your natural tooth colour and so has no effect on fillings, crowns, veneers or bridges. These restorations may need replacing after the whitening treatment, especially if they are visible.
The results of whitening treatments vary depending on the original shade of the teeth. In some cases, it may take a longer treatment period to achieve the desired shade.
The most common, effective and cost-effective method is tray whitening. Your dentist will first check your teeth to ensure there are no issues that could negatively affect the whitening as fillings and crowns will not alter in colour.
Your dentist will take an impression or 3D Itero scan of your mouth and use this to make a special dental tray that fits into your mouth like a thin gum shield. We may recommend you see the hygienist for professional cleaning before the whitening is commenced.
At your next appointment, we will try the trays in to check their fit and show you how to apply the whitening gel in the tray. The tray is worn with the gel for a few hours each day, usually at night while sleeping, following the instructions your dentist gives you.
Some patients may experience sensitivity during treatment, although any discomfort should wear off after a few days. Most whitening treatments take about 2-3 weeks or until the desired shade has been achieved.
A tooth whitening effect generally lasts up to 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. Top ups are ideal after your hygiene appointments when any staining has been removed first.Back to Cosmetic Dentistry
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