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Teeth Whitening

Many people are unhappy with the colour of their teeth – after all, very few of us are born with truly pearly white teeth. There is a multitude of reasons why teeth discolouration happens. Teeth lose their sparkle due to staining from tea, coffee or red wine, or naturally discolour as they get older. Other reasons include tartar or ‘calculus’ which can affect the colour of teeth and stains under the surface caused by certain types of antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth.


  • Dentists can prescribe at home teeth whitening gels or perform laser treatment
  • Results tend to make teeth 5 to 6 shades brighter
  • Price ranges from £200 to £700
  • Results can last up to 3 years

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The Benefits of Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening is a safe, secure, long-term solution that can instantly lighten your teeth and give you the confidence to smile again. If you’re thinking about getting your teeth whitened, but have questions about whether getting them professionally done is worth it, read on and book a consultation to discuss with an expert what’s best for your teeth.

So how does Teeth Whitening work?


Teeth Whitening removes the stains that occur on your teeth using a gel with an ‘active ingredient’ such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The gel opens the pores in the tooth, allowing the bleaching agent to seep through into the dentin. Dentin is the soft bone-like tissue that is found beneath the enamel, a clear hard coating that protects your teeth.

It’s actually oxygen that does all the hard work. Oxygen molecules come into contact with the discoloured molecules and cause them to break away, exposing the natural colour of the tooth. With the stains removed, the natural colour of the dentin shines through. A misconception is that teeth whitening removes some of the surface of the tooth. In reality, stain removal lightens the existing appearance by several shades.

Teeth discolour for many different reasons, and your dentist will recommend a tailored whitening solution for your needs. This could involve applying a gel at home over a few weeks, or the new Power Whitening treatment which a dentist can carry out in less than an hour. Powerful gels with a higher concentration of bleach require fewer applications than weaker gels, though both achieve the same results.

At a glance

Teeth Whitening made simple

Preparation

Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry, and therefore should involve either a dentist or dental professional (hygienist or therapist) on the prescription of a dentist. Your consultation should take place in a dental office, where your dentist will discuss the best options for your teeth.

Procedure

If your treatment plan involves you applying gel at home over a few weeks, then your dentist needs to make an impression of your teeth to be made into a soft plastic retainer, made to fit your teeth. Your dentist will instruct you how to place the bleaching gel within the tray and place on your teeth correctly. They will specify the period of time needed for each treatment and how often to apply. This depends on the gel. Some are able to left for up to 8 hours, which means a shorter treatment length in total.

Laser whitening (also known as power whitening) involves a very different technique. The dentist uses a lip retractor to ensure your mouth stays in an opened position. They also apply a rubber dam to cover your gum tissue and protect it from the bleach. The lips and inner cheek are also protected by a gel, wadding, or salve. After coating in the whitening solution, the clinician shines a high-intensity laser on your teeth for up to 20 minutes. Then the dentist removes the layer of bleach, reapplies a fresh coat then starts another round. This option takes only an hour or two. Power whitening is typically more expensive than the at home method, as it is an easier and quicker way to get to the same great result.

Aftercare

The lasting effects vary depending on lifestyle – with poorer results for people that smoke, or drink red wine, tea or coffee which all contain teeth staining agents. Using a whitening toothpaste doesn’t affect the natural colour of your teeth, but it does remove staining that occurs and helps your whitening treatment last.

Cost

The cost of teeth whitening depends on how deep the bleaching needs to be. At home treatments that your dentist prescribes usually are around £200, where deeper laser treatments are closer to £700.

Benefits

Professional teeth whitening can whitening you teeth up to 9 shades brighter than before. the treatment is easy and safe and if done properly has no negative side effects. At home treatments could be as quick as 4 weeks to see desired results. Whereas laser treatment takes one day and results are instantaneous.

Results

Power whitening can cause teeth to appear 5 or even 6 shades lighter. Whitening can occasionally change the tooth colour by 9 or more shades. People who decide to seek professional teeth whitening services through their dentist see better and longer results. People have seen results last up to three years compared to only a couple of months from a DIY kit.

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FAQ's

Your questions - answered.

Professional teeth whitening is safer than DIY at-home kits or beauty salons who put your oral health at risk. Unregulated home whitening kits carry the risk of burned gums and can cause harm to tooth enamel. Seeing a professional is always advised.

Most people with healthy gums are suitable for teeth whitening. However dental implants, dentures, fillings, veneers, crowns, and bridges do not respond to teeth whitening treatment.

Dentist approved at-home teeth whitening can take between 3-4 weeks. This includes a dentist visit to make a mouth guard where they start off a treatment that you carry on at home. The number of applications is dependent on many factors, but age can be a good indicator. People aged below 25 typically need 3 gel syringes and 3-9 applications, 26-40-year-olds need 4-6 syringes spread over 7-14 applications, and over 41’s need 7-9 gel syringes over many applications. Power whitening only takes a few hours.

The effects of teeth whitening treatment can last from a few months to up to three years. The lasting effects vary depending on lifestyle – with poorer results for people that smoke, or drink red wine, tea or coffee which all contain teeth staining agents. Using a whitening toothpaste doesn’t affect the natural colour of your teeth, but it does remove staining that occurs and helps your whitening treatment last.

Your teeth may be sensitive to cold during or after your treatment. Other side effects include sore gums, sore throat, and white patches on gum. All side effects should disappear in a few days.

Power whitening can cause teeth to appear 5 or even 6 shades lighter. Whitening can occasionally change the tooth colour by 9 or more shades. Even a change of just 2-3 shades can cause a noticeable difference to not just how others see your smile, but more importantly, to your own confidence.

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