If you want general information on a condition or treatment, go to the British Dental Health Foundation's web site where they have over 40 online leaflets.
Commonly performed in cosmetic dentistry, tooth whitening is the procedure of lightening dark coloured teeth.
Results depend upon the individual's genetics, the condition of the teeth, and the whitening method used. Whitening is not permanent, to maintain maximum whiteness we recommend one nights bleaching at home every 2-3 months. Teeth whitening is a great, cost effective way to get a brighter, fresher smile.
After your evaluation appointment with your dentist we will need to make impressions of your teeth, these impressions are then sent to a laboratory where they will produce trays specially to fit over your teeth. You will then need a short second appointment approximately 10 days later to pick up your custom fitted trays, as well as to review the patient instructions for you to start the whitening process at home.
The in-chair whitening appointment is booked at the practice 15 days from when you started the home whitening, during this appointment, the dentist will express a concentrated peroxide gel into your trays and place them over your teeth, this completes the whole whitening process.
Over time the porous structure of the tooth absorbs colour from food and drink. Teeth whitening methods most often use a form of peroxide to bleach the teeth and remove stains and discoloration. As the peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and bleaches the coloured substances in the pores of the tooth. This lightens the natural colour of the teeth without removing any of the tooth surface.
Decades of research have proven bleaching and other tooth whitening methods to be both safe and effective. Teeth whitening methods of today are less likely to cause gum sensitivity or other small side effects. Many dentists consider whitening the safest cosmetic dental procedure available.
Teeth whitening will not work on crowns, veneers or composite fillings. If you are planning on a having any composite work done on your teeth, it is recommended to have it done after whitening. Otherwise it will need to be replaced.
If you have any of the above, teeth whitening may not be effective.
Tooth whitening is not recommended for children under the age of 16. At this age the teeth are still developing and he nerve chambers are larger. Teeth whitening could cause sensitivity and possible damage to the teeth.
We do not recommend teeth whitening for women who are pregnant or lactating. Swallowing even the smallest amount of whitening gel may be harmful to a foetus.
Obviously, anyone allergic to peroxide should not use a tooth-whitening product.
Teeth can become discoloured for a number of reasons, the most common are listed below. Although discoloration is natural over time, you can have your teeth whitened safely and professionally.
Foods with lots of pigment such as soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, most varieties of berries, cherries, and curry will stain teeth. Slightly acidic foods, such as citrus, also open up the pores of the tooth enamel which causes teeth to stain more easily.
Coffee, red wine, dark soft drinks such as colas, teas, and cranberry juice can cause staining. Watch out for extremely hot or extremely cold liquids. They will change the temperature of your teeth causing them to expand and contract. This allows stains to penetrate teeth more easily.
You probably already knew that smoking stains teeth. Most of the stain from smoking can be removed if you catch it early enough, but as time goes on, the staining spreads deeper into the enamel and is much more difficult to remove. Eventually smoking will permanently stain your teeth.
As people grow older their teeth produce more stains. The enamel also thins through wear and tear. This causes the yellow dentine layer to show through, and makes teeth appear yellow and dull.
High fluoride levels in drinking water or ingested as a child when the teeth are developing can contribute to tooth discoloration. Children are especially susceptible as they can get fluorosis from swallowing toothpaste. Fluorosis causes chalky-white or brown patches or lines on teeth.
Some people have naturally brighter enamel than others.
A really hard bump can cause nerve problems which will discolour a tooth. Whitening may temporarily whiten the outside of the tooth, but this should really have a dentist's attention.
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