Whitening or Bleaching of Teeth
The bleaching of teeth is now recognised as a safe and effective procedure if carried out with suitable materials and under professional supervision. The active ingredient used is a dilution of hydrogen peroxide, which has been used in dentistry for over 100 years. Indeed judging from some TV programmes most of Americans appear to have had their teeth bleached!
So why do teeth discolour, especially with age?
The enamel that is the hard outer part of the tooth despite being the hardest substance in the human body is not entirely impermeable. Over time staining substances, (such as coffee, tea, red wine, curries and nicotine), gradually penetrate into the enamel and alter its colour. Cleaning off stains from the outer surface of the tooth, by tooth brushing or more thorough cleaning at the dentist’s does not alter the staining within the tooth.
How white will my teeth get?
We use the ENLIGHTEN tooth whitening system and it has been shown that this system can whiten by up to 10 shades. ENLIGHTEN can brighten your teeth dramatically, but not everyone’s teeth respond in the same way. Results will vary due to factors such as tooth density, tooth porosity and lifestyle habits. Sometimes there may be no change in colour at all. This is usually because of the colour of the underlying dentine, which is not affected by the bleaching process.
How does it work?
The gel is applied to your teeth in the surgery and the Enlighten tooth whitening light is positioned over your teeth to activate the gel. After 40 minutes your teeth will be at their brightest.
What is home-bleaching?
Home-bleaching requires the provision of custom trays (after impressions by the dentist) followed by hour long sessions at home when bleaching gel is held onto the teeth within the trays. This can bring about a substantial improvement in shade, but requires a longer treatment period as the gel cannot be as strong as that used in surgery.
How long should the whitening last?
The effect can last up to 3 years. However using tobacco, regular drinking of red wine, coffee or tea will affect how long the result lasts. We do provide you with bleaching trays and gel to use at home (even if you have had power bleaching at the surgery) which allows you to top up the effect on average about every 6 months.
Although teeth bleaching is widely available on the high street, where it is provided by therapists etc who are not dentists, this practice is illegal. Using the wrong strength of gel or having poor protection of the gums can cause irreversible damage.