Dental Teeth Whitening
Why would I need teeth whitening?
Teeth yellow with age and can become stained on the surface through daily exposure to food and drinks such as tea and coffee. Tartar or calculus can also affect the coloration of the teeth. Some people may have internal staining which may have been caused by certain antibiotics during teeth development or minute cracks in the teeth.
Is dental whitening for you?
Naturally, prior to any treatment, a thorough examination and diagnosis should be performed. Scaling and polishing is recommended before teeth whitening is performed.
Success of teeth whitening depends on the cause of discolouration, how long the teeth have been discoloured and other factors. Anyone with teeth which are stained from age, coffee, tea or smoking are ideal candidates for teeth whitening. Patients with healthy, natural, and unfilled teeth often achieve good results. Teeth darkened with extrinsic or surface stains respond better to bleaching than teeth with deep, intrinsic discoloration caused by Fluoride or Tetracycline. These types of stains are unlikely to produce dramatic results. Bleaching is generally not recommended for sensitive or worn teeth; teeth with large fillings or crowns; and teeth affected by gum disease.
What is teeth whitening? What are the steps for teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening is a procedure to lighten the natural colour of your teeth without removing any tooth structure.
Whitening options includes in-office whitening and using teeth whitening trays and gels.
- In-office Teeth Whitening offers good results. This procedure is performed in the dental clinic in just over an hour. It is more costly, however, the time you can save by having immediate results makes this option appealing. A protective gel layer is placed on your gums adjacent to the teeth and hardened. Then the whitening gel is applied on your teeth.
- Teeth Whitening Home Kits take longer to achieve the desired results than in-office bleaching but they are more convenient in terms of time and more cost effective. Teeth-Whitening Gel (about a third of a tube) is applied on the tray according to the dentist instructions. After placing in the mouth, any excess gel which have flowed out should be wiped away gently. Depending on the concentration of the gel, these clear trays are usually worn a couple of hours a day or overnight and it usually takes a couple of weeks before results are noticeable.
For both In-office and Home Kit Whitening, certain food that can cause stains easily (Eg. red wine, tomato sauce) have to be avoided for the duration of the whitening.
Teeth Whitening Kits from the dentist produce faster and more effective results because they contain a stronger Peroxide-Bleaching agent than Whitening Kits which are purchased over the counter.
A benefit of trays and gels from the dentist is that the trays are custom made and they fit your teeth exactly so that your gums are protected from the Tooth Whitening Gels.
Will teeth whitening harm my teeth?
According our knowledge, nothing detrimental has been documented and microscopic research shows no changes to the tooth surface with the use of 10% bleaching gel. There is no study that we have come across showing any irreversible damage to the tooth structure.
What can I do if my teeth are sensitive during Teeth Whitening?
Toothpaste containing Potassium Nitrate or a prescription level of fluoride can help seal the microscopic tubules (dentin pores) to prevent nerve irritation and sensitivity. There are also professional products available that your dentist can apply to the affected area.
How long does Teeth Whitening last?
It’s important to have realistic expectations of before and after whitening. Generally, immediately after whitening, the colour will fade very slightly. This may remain stable for approximately 2 years, sometimes longer. However, several factors such as your diet and habits (eg. smoking) can cause staining to occur again. Touch ups every 3-6 months are recommended to maintain your desired shade.
What about store/pharmacy bought products?
Over-the-counter kits are not recommended as they contain only a small concentration of the active ingredient, which reduces the effectiveness of the product. Some also contain mild acids, while others are abrasive.
Although these products are cheaper, whitening is a complicated treatment procedure that should only be carried out by a dentist after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth and gums. It is very important to follow the instructions issued by your dentist and to ensure that you attend any follow-up appointments recommended.