Why would my teeth need to be whitened?
Teeth yellow with age and can become stained on the surface through daily exposure to foods and drinks such as tea, coffee and blackcurrants. Calculus or tartar can also affect the coloration of the teeth. Some people may have internal staining which can be caused by certain antibiotics or minute cracks in the teeth.
Is dental whitening for you?
Naturally, prior to any treatment, a thorough examination and diagnosis should be performed, evaluating the potential benefits the technique may offer you. Teeth that have become stained from age, coffee, tea or smoking are ideal candidates. Patients with healthy, natural, and unfilled teeth often achieve dazzling results. Teeth darkened with extrinsic, or surface stains, respond better to bleaching than deep, intrinsic discoloration caused by fluoride or tetracycline. These types of stain are less likely to produce dramatic results. Bleaching is generally not indicated for sensitive or worn teeth; those with large fillings or crowns; and teeth affected by gum disease.
What about store / pharmacy bought products?
Over-the-counter kits are not recommended as they contain only a small concentration of hydrogen peroxide, which reduces the effectiveness of the product. Some also contain mild acids, while others are abrasive.
Although these products are cheaper, whitening is a complicated treatment procedure and should only be carried out by a dentist after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth. It is very important to follow the instructions issued by your dentist and to ensure that you attend any follow-up appointments recommended.
What is teeth whitening? What are the steps?
Teeth whitening is a procedure to lighten the natural color of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces.
The two most common whitening are in-office whitening and using teeth whitening trays and gels.
- In-office teeth whitening offers excellent results. This procedure is performed in the dental clinic in just over an hour. It is more costly but the time you save by having immediate results makes this option appealing.
- Teeth whitening home kits take longer to achieve the desired results than in-office bleaching but they are more convenient time-wise and cost effective. Depending on the strength of peroxide in the gel, these clear trays are usually worn a couple of hours a day or overnight and could take anywhere from 3 days to a couple of weeks before any results are noticed.
Teeth whitening kits from the dentist produce faster and more effective results because they contain a stronger peroxide-bleaching agent than whitening kits purchased over the counter.
Another benefit of trays and gels from the dentist is that the trays are custom made and fit your teeth exactly so that the gums are protected from the tooth whitening gels.
Will teeth whitening harm my teeth?
To our knowledge, nothing detrimental has been documented and microscopic research shows no changes to the tooth surface with use of 10% bleaching solution. There is no study that we have come across showing any irreversible damage to the tooth structure.
If my teeth are sensitive during teeth whitening, what can I do?
Toothpaste containing potassium nitrate or a prescription level of fluoride can help seal the microscopic tubules (dentin pores) to prevent nerve irritation and sensitivity. There are also professional products available that your dentist can apply to the affected area.
How long does teeth whitening last?
Generally, immediately after whitening, the color will fade slightly and then remain stable for approximately 2 years, sometimes longer.
Touch ups every 4-6 months with 1-2 applications are recommended to maintain your desired shade.
Success of Tooth Whitening Depends on Several Factors…
- The cause of discolouration
- How long have the teeth been discoloured
- The location of discolouration
- How long can the whitening gel remain at the affected site