Teeth Whitening is the process of making your teeth ‘whiter’ by removing stains and discolouration.
At Smart Dental Care we use Whitewash Laboratories who are leading teeth whitening and oral care manufacturers, their Home Whitening System and other products have been developed and formulated by leading UK dentists.
We are dedicated to ensuring that any products we use or endorse are completely safe for our patients.
- All patients must come in for a consultation with the dentist to determine whether you are a suitable candidate for tooth whitening
- If you are having the Home Whitening, impressions of your teeth will be taken in order to make you a bespoke whitening tray (like a gum shield) that will fit your teeth perfectly
- Your dentist will advise you how to perform the whitening, particularly how long for and how often and answer any questions you have.
If you are not suitable for whitening or would just rather an alternative, visiting the Hygienist regularly can help to remove staining and discolouration. The hygienist can perform deep clean treatments and stain removal and also give advice on how to help prevent further staining.
Tooth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it may lighten the existing shade.
It is not uncommon to experience tooth sensitivity and / or gum irritation whilst whitening your teeth. This is temporary and NOT harmful. To alleviate symptoms it may be sensible to whiten your teeth on alternate days, until you have used all of the strips. If the problem persists, discontinue use and consult your dentist.
Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing.
If any of these side effects continue you should go to your dentist.
Some people may experience white spots on their teeth after whitening. These white spots are temporary; they are not harmful and will disappear within 24 hours.
The effects can generally last a lifetime but because we drink tea and coffee and eat strongly coloured foods, restaining occurs. We would recommend topping up every 6 months to a year.
Professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening. Your dental team will be able to tell you if you are suitable for the treatment, and will supervise it if you are. Firstly, they will take an impression of your mouth in order to create specially made trays which fit your mouth exactly. They will then place the whitening gel inside these trays and insert them into your mouth.
The ‘active ingredient’ in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
The total treatment can usually be done within two to four weeks. First, you will need two or three visits to the dentist. Your dental team will need to make a mouthguard and will take impressions for this at the first appointment. Once your dental team 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 overnight wear, depending on the product used.
There are many home whitening kits available, including paint-on whiteners and strips. How effective these are
depends on the amount of whitening agent they contain.
Home kits are cheaper but they are not always assessed for safety and tend to be more acidic. So there is a chance that these products could damage your teeth and gums. Because tooth whitening is a complicated procedure we advise that you always talk to your dentist before starting the treatment.
Regulations covering home kits vary from country to country. Kits sold in Europe cannot legally contain more than 0.1% peroxide and this is too little to be effective. In other countries where stronger peroxide is allowed, home whitening is more common. But you need to be careful as some kits sold over the internet may contain mild acids and abrasives.
In Europe and in some other countries whitening can only legally be carried out by a dentist. So tooth whitening by
beauticians and in whitening kiosks is illegal. In Europe, it is illegal to supply bleaching material containing more than 0.1% peroxide (or the equivalent in carbamide peroxide) to anyone other than a dentist, or direct to the public.
These regulations are to protect the public. They make sure that anyone carrying out whitening is properly trained and has the right skills and knowledge to carry out the procedure without risking permanent damage to the teeth or gums.
You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and staining.
We recommend the following tips to take care of your teeth:
- Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
- Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.