Everything You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can be an easy and very effective way to quickly brighten up your smile. Whiter teeth are associated with youthfulness and good health, and a gorgeous white smile is often a great way to make a good first impression.

However, lifestyle habits can lead to teeth becoming stained and discoloured, a look that can be prematurely aging. Additionally, teeth do darken with age as the outer layer of tooth enamel that is naturally whiter and slightly opacious, begins to thin, allowing the colour of the dentine underneath to shine through. Dentine contains the natural colour of your teeth and is generally darker than enamel.

Why Teeth Whitening is a Dental Treatment

In spite of the cosmetic benefits of teeth whitening, it is still a dental treatment that is thankfully well regulated here in the UK. This is because unless correctly used, teeth whitening has the potential to harm your teeth and gums and it is always best to consult a dental professional. Dentists are the only people who are able to use professional strength whitening products that will produce the best and safest results. Legally, professional tooth whitening can only be carried a dentist or another registered dental professional under their direct supervision. Although you can buy over-the-counter whitening products, these will not be as strong or as effective as choosing a professional teeth whitening treatment.

Before You Have a Teeth Whitening Treatment

If you are interested in whitening your teeth, you will need to book a consultation with one of our dentists here at Confidental. We need to examine your teeth and gums before carrying out any type of whitening treatment and this is to make sure it is safe and appropriate for you to whiten your teeth. Teeth whitening should only be carried out on teeth that are strong and healthy and which don’t have any signs of cavities of decay. Your gums must be strong and free from disease and any problems must be treated before we whiten your teeth. This helps to ensure treatment is safe and that it will not adversely affect your dental health, and it also ensures treatment will be comfortable for you. Whitening an unhealthy mouth could cause discomfort or even pain and may harm your teeth and gums. There are two ways you can whiten which are to opt for a laser, in-chair whitening treatment, or to choose a customised home whitening kit.

What is the Difference Between Laser Whitening and Home Whitening?

Laser whitening uses a special laser light to activate the whitening gel. During this treatment your gums and lips are protected, before your teeth are painted with whitening gel. Activating this gel helps it to penetrate your tooth enamel more easily, so relatively deep seated stains can be lifted. The gel can be wiped off and replaced two or three times during a treatment and by the end of an hour-long appointment your teeth should look several shades lighter.

With a home whitening kit, you will be provided with custom-made whitening trays. These are made from clear plastic and will fit tightly over your teeth so the gel cannot leak out. You simply fill the trays with whitening gel (we will show you how to do this) and wear the trays for an hour each day. The gel provided for our home whitening kits contains carbamide peroxide, a very safe and stable form of hydrogen peroxide. This gel is a lower strength than the whitening gels used for in-chair treatments.

Which Treatment is Most Effective?

Both treatments can be equally effective and should produce similar results. An in-chair whitening treatment is great if you simply can’t wait to whiten your teeth or have a special event coming up that you’d like to look your best for. If you wish, you can continue treatment afterwards with a home whitening kit. Whitening at home can be nice if you have very sensitive teeth. We can prescribe a lower strength of whitening gel and you can always stop treatment for a day or two if your teeth start to feel uncomfortable. Another nice thing about using a home whitening kit is that you can re-use the trays at a later date, if you wish to top up treatment as we can supply you with additional whitening gels.

How Much Does Each Cost?

A home teeth whitening kit can be slightly cheaper than an in-chair whitening treatment. Costs can range from £250 – £350, depending on any special offers that might be currently available.

Will I Have Sensitive Teeth Afterwards?

All the products we use are designed to protect your dental health and to reduce tooth sensitivity. If you do experience any sensitivity then it should settle down in just a few days as your teeth adjust to being whitened.

Can I Smoke and Drink Red Wine and Tea and Coffee after Teeth Whitening?

Immediately after teeth whitening it is best to avoid these habits as your teeth will stain more easily and it is best to stick to a white food diet for the first 48-72 hours while your teeth settle down. Afterwards it is up to you, as these habits will stain your teeth and avoiding them will help the results of tooth whitening to last longer.

How Long Does Each Treatment Take?

An in-chair whitening treatment will take as little as an hour. With home whitening, it generally takes two weeks for the full results to become visible, but your teeth should begin to look brighter after just a few treatments.

How Long Do the Results Last?

The results of teeth whitening may last a year or more, but everyone is different. It all depends on your lifestyle habits as smoking and drinking red wine, or eating highly coloured foods will speed up the rate of discolouration.

Will My Fillings Need to be Replaced?

Provided your fillings are in good condition, you will not need to replace them. However, if they are stained then teeth whitening may highlight this. While your teeth will change colour, your fillings will stay the same so you might need to renew them to ensure they blend in with your newly whitened smile.

Will Tooth Whitening Affect My Enamel?

All the products we use in our clinic and for our home whitening kits are top quality and very safe and will not harm your enamel. It is important to only use teeth whitening products as directed as over-using them may damage your enamel and will not make your teeth appear any whiter.

Can Teeth Whitening Whiten My Crowns or Bridges?

Teeth whitening will not change the colour of any composite resin or porcelain restorations like fillings, veneers, crowns or bridges.

How White Will My Teeth Go?

We will aim to safely whiten your teeth to give you a healthy and attractive smile. As a rule of thumb, your teeth shouldn’t be any whiter than the whites of your eyes. We can advise you on the results that can be safely achieved during your initial consultation.

Would you like to know more about teeth whitening? Just give us a call as we are always happy to answer questions. If you are ready to book, then we can schedule an appointment for you at a time convenient for you.

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