Teeth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens stains in the enamel and dentine of
your teeth, to give a brighter tooth colour.
What are the benefits of teeth whitening? Main benefit of teeth whitening is ‘the confidence of a bright white smile’. When you are going on job interview or a first date or making a big presentation or approaching a milestone and want to look your best. Whatever it may be, whitening is an easy way to boost your self-confidence. Knowing your smile looks its best makes you want to smile more and when you smile, the whole world tends to smile right back.
Are all teeth suitable for whitening? Teeth whitening may be done on live teeth and teeth that have had root canal treatment. Before having your teeth whitened, our dentist will check to make sure your teeth are suitable to be treated. In some cases, treatment may be difficult or ineffective, for example with staining caused during tooth formation by certain antibiotics. Tooth whitening may make your old fillings or crowns look darker after treatment, so it is very important to be checked and advised of this before you proceed. Areas of your teeth may whiten at different rates depending on the location of the stain, hardness of the tooth and the intensity of the stain.
How can your dentist whiten your teeth? Tooth whitening can be done at home (using a customised tray system designed by your dentist), or in the dental office. Your dentist can provide a more effective tooth whitening system for use at home than the ‘do-it-yourself’ kits available at pharmacies. The dentist makes an impression for a model of your teeth. A thin, custom fitted, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth is made. At home you place a whitening gel into the tray, and place the tray over your teeth. This is worn for 15 minutes up to two hours daily or at night. Results are usually seen after the first day, but maximum whitening may take 10-14 days. Your dentist will check on your progress. Your dentist can also whiten your teeth at the dental office, using similar ingredients to the home use whitening. Your gums are protected and then whitening gel is applied to the teeth and may be activated with a special light for up to 30 to 60 minutes divided in 15minute sessions. Gel breaks down into stain-fighting radicals that break the molecular bonds making up stains on your teeth. The LED accelerator light shining on whitening gel helps these stain fighting radicals whiten faster. One big advantage of in-office whitening is you can see the result in just one visit.
Can teeth with root fillings be whitened? Yes. Root filled teeth are treated by placing a bleach inside the tooth. A protective rubber shield is placed over the tooth and the tooth is partly opened into where the root filling has been placed. The inside is cleaned and a bleaching material is placed inside. The tooth is temporarily resealed and left 7 – 10 days. Sometimes two or three applications may be necessary.
Is teeth whitening safe? Yes. Clinical studies have shown that whitening your teeth with carbamaperoxide or hydrogen peroxide under the supervision of a dental professional is safe for both teeth and gums.
Are there side effects of home or dental office treatment? Sometimes people will experience increased tooth and gum sensitivity during treatment, which goes away shortly after stopping the treatment. The structure of the tooth is not changed by the process.
How long does teeth whitening last? Over time your teeth can lose some of their whiteness. Whitening treatments help to reduce existing stains, but through consumption of coffee, red wine and other coloured foods or just through natural aging, your teeth eventually become discoloured again. Maintenance whitening can help combat recurring discoloration.