What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is a bleaching process to lighten tooth colour and lighten stains. As we get older tooth colour gets more yellow. Tooth whitening helps to reverse this aging process. Some people develop very stained teeth due to red wine, tea and coffee drinking; tooth whitening helps to lessen this discolouration.
How is it done?
There are several methods of tooth whitening. The one that is most popular is the ‘at home’ system. The dentist will take moulds of your teeth and make two very thin ‘mouth guard’ type of trays for you. These are comfortable and easy to wear unlike some sports mouth guards. We then give you the tooth whitening kit to use at home. At home you place some of the whitening gel into the tray (one for top teeth and one for bottom teeth) and wear it preferably overnight. You will usually see some results after the first day. It can take 10 to 14 days for maximum benefit.
There are variations to this procedure as peoples needs vary. For example sometimes the whitening can be done at the dental office for the most immediate results.
Can anyone have it done?
Yes!! However it will not change the colour of teeth which have been crowned. If you have white fillings on your front teeth these fillings may need to be changed after the whitening process as they will no longer match the new colour of your teeth. If the front white fillings are very small or nearer the gums they may not be quite so visible and therefore may not need to be replaced.
How long does it last?
For some patients it lasts many years. However most patients like to do a top up whitening every 6 to 12 months. You will love the new colour of your teeth and want them to stay that way!! In your first kit you will probably have some gel left over to do the first touch up when you want. After that it is very affordable to buy the small top up or ‘mini kit’.
What are the side effects?
Sometimes people find their teeth get sensitive during the treatment. This goes away soon after the treatment is finished. A toothpaste especially for sensitive teeth can help minimize this.