There are a number of different methods of whitening teeth. The products contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As these chemicals break down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth, lightening them.
As we get older, our teeth can become darker naturally
Our lifestyle can affect the discoloration and this is often increased by drinking tea, coffee, red wine or other food and drink with strong colourings. Another major cause is smoking, which can make your teeth appear yellowed. Tooth decay, fillings and tartar build-up can also contribute to discolouration.
Tooth whitening can be a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface.
Why would I need my teeth whitened?
Very few people have brilliant-white teeth, and our teeth can also become darker as we get older.. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Calculus or tartar can also affect the colour of teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains
There are a number of reasons why you might want to have your teeth whitened. Sometimes you may have a special occasion, such as a wedding, or you just want a brighter smile.
What does home whitening involve?
First your dentist will be able to tell you if you are suitable for the treatment, and will supervise it if you are.
You will need two or three visits to the dentist. Your dentist will need to make a whitening tray and will take impressions for this at the first appointment.
Once you have received your tray, your dentist will instruct you how to use it.
The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
The total treatment can usually be done within two to four weeks.
How long will my teeth stay whiter?
The effects of whitening can last for many years but in the same way that our lifestyle can affect the colour change in our teeth it also affects the success of tooth whitening. So regular tea, coffee or red wine consumption or smoking lessens the effect. However, this will vary from person to person. Ask your dentist for their opinion before you start the treatment.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others report discomfort in the gums, these symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing. If any of these side effects continue you should go to your dentist.
How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened?
We recommend the following tips to care for your teeth:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks
- Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend
You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drink you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouring and staining.