Tooth whitening is the most cost effective cosmetic procedure that can quickly revitalise a natural smile. How does tooth- whitening work? Get in touch to find out more.
THE TUDDENHAM ROAD DENTAL SURGERY
Tooth whitening is the most cost effective cosmetic procedure that can quickly revitalise a natural smile.
How does tooth- whitening work?
The most cost effective and widely used method is what is called supervised home whitening.The patient uses bleaching trays that are specifically made and customised for the individual. A solution of 10% carbamide peroxide is applied to the teeth following a regime as instructed by the dentist. Most patients see maximum results within two weeks. One would typically wear the trays for 2 hours per day or sleep with it over night.
In some cases the dentist might prescribe a “jump start” session where a chairside application of 6% hydrogen peroxide is administered by the dentist before the standard supervised home whitening is continued as described above.
Our teeth are porous on a microscopic level even if they look and feel solid to us. These pores become saturated with colourants that are found in the food and drink we consume. Foods such as curries, pasta sauce, tea, coffee, red wine and berries are examples of introduced stains.
Other causes for darkening of our teeth can be some antibiotics and medicines, decay, systemic diseases, or just natural darkening as we age.
The whitening solutions oxidises these stains and thus can lighten the shade of our natural teeth. Crowns, veneers, and fillings do not change their shade when whitened.
What can I expect when I have my teeth whitened?
All natural teeth will respond to tooth whitening although some will respond better than others. Teeth with a yellow base shade will respond faster than grey or brown shades.
Your teeth might become a little sensitive during the whitening process but this is transient. You will be asked to avoid highly coloured foods and drink while you whiten your teeth and for up to two weeks after the final application to allow the shade to stabilize and for those pores to be filled in with phosphates and salts naturally occurring in your saliva.
Is tooth-whitening permanent?
The shade of your teeth might undergo “fallback” some months after the initial treatment although they are unlikely to revert to the original darkness. If you keep your trays and they still fit well, you can purchase top-up syringes of whitening gel from the surgery to bring it back. This should not be needed before a year or eighteen months depending on your diet.
Does tooth-whitening damage my teeth?
Apart from possible transient sensitivity and possible short term blanching of your gums if the gel comes in contact with them there are no permanent damage to the teeth. Tooth whitening has been widely used and even more extensively researched and refined over the last sixty years. The research shows no permanent damage to teeth and year on year the gels improve with a reduction in sensitivity and better long term stability of the results.