What causes the discolouration of my teeth?
Many things affect the colour of teeth, particular types of food and drink, smoking, red wine and medication like tetracycline and certain childhood illnesses can lead to unsightly discolouration. Also as we get older the colour of our teeth darkens. Trauma to upper front teeth (incisors) that have taken a heavy knock will frequently become discolored, especially if the pulp is damaged. Visiting the dentist/hygienist regularly for the removal of tarter and other stained deposits helps, but this doesn’t actually whiten teeth.
Is there anything I can do?
You can: Today very effective treatments are available, e.g. an effective and proven method is professional tooth whitening with the help of and under supervision of your dentist.
How does the treatment work?
After an examination by your dentist, an imprint of your teeth will be taken. A customised tray is then made by a qualified dental technician. At your next appointment this tray is then filled with bleaching gel, varying strengths of gels containing hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen that bleaches tooth discolourations in a gentle way. The gel filled tray should be worn for between 2-5 hours per day as recommended by the dentist.
Do I have to visit the dentist for application?
Yes for an initial demonstration application, to ensure that you follow the procedures correctly which your dentist will show you. He will then advise you when you should return, this is to ensure that the treatment is working and the solutions are used safely.
Is tooth whitening suitable for everyone?
No, always consult your dentist. Certain groups of people e.g. infants, pregnant women and nursing mothers will not be treated also patients who suffer with gout will not be treated.
How long does the treatment take?
That varies according to the cause and degree of discolouration. Usually the bleaching effect becomes visible after a few applications (usually 5).
Discolourations caused by certain types of food and drinks will normally disappear within 10 to 12 days.
Discolouration triggered by medication or by diseases can call for prolonged treatment that can take months.
Teeth with a yellowish hue usually bleach well, brownish ones less so; greyish teeth may not bleach at all.
Is professional tooth whiting safe?
According to the latest scientific findings it does not damage teeth, gums or existing fillings you may have, infact we have noticed a marked improvement in the gums of patients who have advanced chronic periodontal disease (periodontitis). NOTE: We do not advise patients to buy teeth bleaching products by mail order or over the counter shops. We also do not carry out chair-side 40 minute bleaching, as we do feel the results are not as long lasting. You usually need to carry out further home bleaching anyway! So why go through the added expense.
Should I expect side effects?
During the course of the treatment, some increased sensitivity of the teeth and irritation of the gums can occur. These effects will disappear at the end of the treatment. With the home bleaching kits you could stop for a few days and then continue when the sensitivity is reduced, using sensodyne toothpaste continuously should help. In case of extreme sensitivity apply the sensodyne toothpaste on your teeth via the trays for up to an hour, for mild sensitivity apply the toothpaste with your finger.
Can I avoid or at least reduce these side effects?
Yes, avoid citrus fruits and acidic drinks for the duration of the treatment. A well fitted and carefully filled tray also helps to make the treatment comfortable. Please follow the instructions given by your dentist.
How long does professional tooth whitening last?
This is very much related to your lifestyle, the bleaching effect normally lasts between one and four years. The kind of food and drinks you consume, smoking habbits, age and dental hygiene strongly influence the duration of the bleaching effect. Frequently drinking coffee, tea or red wine as well as smoking can bring discolourations back quite quickly.
How do I keep whitened teeth bright for as long as possible?
Good oral hygiene keeps teeth beautiful for a long time. Regular professional tooth cleaning at your dental practice also supports the lasting success of professional tooth whitening. Should your teeth show signs of new discolouration, treatment can be repeated; this usually involves fewer applications than the first treatment and is also less expensive if you keep your bleaching trays safely as these can sometimes be reused.
Does bleaching also work on fillings and crowns?
No. professional tooth whitening only works on the natural tooth substance. Your dentist will advise you if tooth bleaching is suitable for you, and if fillings and crowns need to be replaced. You may be asked to fill in a cosmetic treatment questioner as part of your initial assessment, as other options such as veneers and crowns may be more suitable or a combination of all three to achieve the best result.
Are there fillings that match the colour of bleached teeth?
Yes. We have the latest composite filling materials that match the shades of bleached teeth. Please ask your dentist for more information.
Do I have to consult my dentist in any case?
Yes. Only your dentist can provide you with really effective bleaching systems like professional whitening. According to his examination he works out whether you need internal or external bleaching, experience and knowledge about the latest techniques helps to ensure the right dosage and treatment schedule. Advice from the practice team helps to avoid side effects and to control the results of your treatment. In addition you will be advised of professional ways of keeping your teeth white and of course on what you do at home.
What about whitening toothpastes? Can they be used instead of bleach?
Whitening toothpastes contain an ingredient that increase the effectiveness of superficial stain removal and can prove a very effective messure, if used regularly, to prevent stains gaining a foothold. However they are unable to alter the intrinsic colour of teeth. All toothpastes contain mild abrasives, which help remove surface stains. E.g. Colgate whitening or Beverly Hills formula whitening toothpaste.