Teeth Whitening what options are there?
What is the best teeth whitening available ?
What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface or damaging it. Usually the original shade of the tooth is whitened to a lighter colour, rather than being turned completely white.
Why would I need my teeth whitened?
As we get older our teeth get darker. This is partly due to our getting older, but it is also caused by the foods we eat and drink, and by other habits such as smoking. Tea, coffee, blackcurrant juice, red wine and other foods that have strong colours can have an effect on the overall colour of our teeth. Teeth may also darken as a result of some antibiotics
Some people naturally have a more grey shade of teeth. Other people have white spots on their teeth. This can be caused by early tooth decay, or illness when the tooth was forming.
There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; and just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant-white teeth.
‘Calculus’ or tartar can also affect the colour of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the enamel surface or tiny cracks can appear in the teeth which take up stains.
What does tooth whitening involve?
Professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening. Your dentist will assess you first to see whether tooth whitening is suitable for you. They will tell you about the options you have for tooth whitening and which will be the most suitable for you.
The most common type of whitening is called ‘dentist-supervised home whitening’. You will have trays made specially to fit into your mouth like gum-shields. The whitening gel is then put in the trays and you will be given a routine to follow at home.
Another option is called ‘chair-side whitening’. You will be told if you are suitable for the treatment, and your dentist will supervise it. First the dentist, hygienist or therapist will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect them. They will then apply the whitening product to your teeth, again using a specially made tray.
The ‘active ingredient’ in the whitening product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel and dentine of the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
How long does this take?
The total length of the treatment can vary depending on how discoloured your teeth are and the shade you want to get to. It can usually be finished within two to four weeks. First, you will need up to four visits to the dentist. Your dentist will need to make a thin mouthguard and will take impressions for this at the first appointment. Once your dentist has started the treatment, you will need to continue the treatment at home. This means regularly applying the whitening product over two to four weeks, for 30 minutes to one hour at a time. The dentist will discuss with you exactly how long you should keep the tray in your mouth. It is important to follow the instructions that you are given to get the best result.
There are now some products which can be applied for up to eight hours at a time. This means you can get a satisfactory result in as little as two weeks.
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teeth whitening options uk