Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure in dentistry, allowing patients to brighten their teeth and regain confidence in their smile. As we get older there can be a number of factors which lead to the discolouration of our teeth, including a thinning of the tooth enamel with the underlying dentine appearing darker.
Smoking can be a major reason for stained teeth, as can drinks such as tea, coffee, cola and red wine, plus certain medications. Lapses in oral care with irregular dental check-ups can see teeth become discoloured, too.
Professional teeth whitening is a simple and affordable option to effectively remedy such discolouration and staining regardless of the reason.
What Methods Are Involved?
- Your dentist can discuss the various available methods to whiten your teeth. Such methods range from whitening strips, gels and pens. A whitening light is used in the dentist’s office, and very often called laser whitening. In fact, this is a machine operating at a certain wavelength of light which quickly activates a whitening agent gel.
- Professional whitening is considered very safe with no danger to the structure of your teeth. Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity, although this should pass within a couple of days.
Which Method is Best?
- Teeth whitening that involves at-home whitening with whitening gel is considered the best. Your dentist must provide these and supervise your treatment.
- This treatment requires an oxidising agent like hydrogen peroxide to penetrate the enamel of the tooth and oxidise the inter-prismatic stain deposits. The underlying dentine will also be whitened over time.
- Of the methods to achieve this, a whitening gel appears to produce the better results. If you are considering teeth whitening, consult with your dentist and discuss the suitability of using a whitening gel which you will then apply from the comfort of your own home.
What is involved?
- Your dentist will arrange to have custom-made trays created from casts of both your upper and lower sets of teeth.
- Once the trays are made your dentist will supervise the teeth whitening process and it is important to follow their advice. You will be given the trays to take away with you plus the whitening gel. The trays are designed to fit each individual’s teeth perfectly to allow the best results when using the whitening gel. The trays should be worn for at least four hours for each whitening session and may be left in place overnight as you sleep.
Benefits of at-home tray whitening
- One of the benefits of trays which fit so precisely is directing the whitening gel to the teeth, thereby keeping it in contact for longer for better results and limiting the amount of gel which may reach the gums.
- This method can be very cost- effective as it reduces the time you need to spend in the dentist clinic so long as you follow their guidelines when applying at home.
- The colour you ultimately want for your teeth is also at your own discretion as you can check progress after every session and stop when happy with the outcome.
Is it Permanent?
- The results from teeth whitening are not permanent but the process can be repeated to maintain your fresh, brighter smile. Once you have your custom-made trays, you do not require a prescription to buy more whitening gel when the initial batch is finished.
- However, it is still best to do this under the supervision of your dentist and to keep in mind the length of effectiveness of any teeth whitening is dependent on the individual.
- If you continue drinking coffee and tea, your teeth will yellow once again - requiring treatment. But in the interim, you will enjoy a bright white smile and greater self-confidence.