Dental Teeth Whitening Treatment

Over the last few years, teeth whitening has changed from something reserved for Hollywood A-listers and other celebrities to a procedure that almost everyone can have.

Many people choose over-the-counter kits which they can use themselves at home. But there are a number of reasons why this procedure should really only be undertaken under the supervision of a qualified dental professional.

Some beauty salons also offer teeth whitening as a service but this is actually against the law unless there’s a qualified dental professional there to supervise the process.

How teeth whitening works

The process of teeth whitening is a bleaching of the enamel to make it several shades whiter than its natural colour to give a brighter, whiter smile.

There are two main methods of teeth whitening.

In the first, the dentist will make a mould of a patient’s mouth and use it to make a form of mouthguard to fit snugly over their teeth. Then, in the comfort of their own home, the patient fills the guard with the special bleaching gel and wears it for a length of time specified by the dentist over between 2 and 4 weeks.

There are some gels that can be left on for up to 8 hours at a time which means the treatment can be completed in a week.

The other method is laser whitening, also known as power whitening, in which the dentist applies a gel to the patient’s teeth and then shines a light or laser on them to accelerate the whitening process. This is the quicker, more expensive, alternative.

The risks of teeth whitening

In order to effectively whiten teeth, the bleaching substance needs to be fairly strong. So if it comes into contact with other parts of the mouth like the gums, tongue and lips for a prolonged period it can cause burning and blistering.

By having a mould made by a dental professional it reduces the risk of this leakage while kits bought from a chemist might not provide quite such a tight seal. It may also be that the solution that comes with over-the-counter whitening kits is not strong enough to be properly effective.

For some people, teeth whitening may not be suitable at all, for example if they have very sensitive teeth or gum disease, but it really needs a dentist to advise about whether this will be the case.

Teeth Whitening FAQ

Can crowns, bridges and dentures be whitened?

Teeth whitening only works on natural teeth so dentures will not change shade. Anyone with a crown or a bridge may find that bleaching the rest of their teeth makes the replacement teeth stand out amongst the lighter ones that surround it.

How long does teeth whitening last for?

Teeth that have been professionally whitened can continue looking good from a few months to up to three years. It also depends on factors including whether the person smokes or drinks red wine, tea or coffee, all of which will shorten the length of time that teeth stay white.

Isn’t tooth whitening by dentists expensive?

It’s certainly more expensive than buying a DIY kit but it also promises to the safer, more effective and longer-lasting too. And it’s hard to put a price on the self-confidence that having a brighter smile can bring.

Miles more smiles.

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