Teeth whitening | Oral Health Foundation


What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening can be a very effective way to whiten the natural color of your teeth without removing the surface of the teeth. It cannot completely change the color, but it can lighten the existing shade.

Why should I need to whiten my teeth?

There are a number of reasons why you can get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; And just like our hair and skin color, our teeth also vary. Very few people have shiny white teeth and our teeth can also discolour as we age.

Your teeth can also be superficially discolored from foods and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine, and black currant. Smoking can also stain teeth.

Tartar or tartar can also affect the color of your teeth. Some people may have discoloration beneath the surface that may be caused by certain antibiotics or by tiny cracks in their teeth that pick up stains.

What does teeth whitening include?

Professional whitening is the most common method of teeth whitening. Your dental team can tell you whether you are suitable for the treatment and will monitor you if necessary. First, the dental team will put a rubber shield or gel on your gums to protect them. They then apply the whitening product to your teeth using a specially made splint that looks like a. fits in your mouth Mouthguard.

The “active ingredient” in the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As the active ingredient breaks down, oxygen enters the tooth enamel and the tooth color becomes lighter.

How long does it take?

The overall treatment can usually be completed within three to four weeks. First of all, you will need two or three visits to the dentist. Your dental team has to make a mouthguard and will take impressions at the first appointment. Once your dental team has started treatment, you will need to continue treatment at home. This means applying the whitening product regularly for two to four weeks for 30 minutes to an hour at a time.

However, there are now some new products that can be used for up to eight hours at a time. This means that you can get a satisfactory result in just a week.

What other procedures are there?

There is now laser whitening or ‘power whitening’. To protect the gums, a rubber dam is placed over the teeth and a bleaching agent is applied to the teeth. A light or laser is then directed at the teeth to activate the chemical. The light accelerates the reaction of the whitening product and the color change can be achieved more quickly. Laser whitening is said to make teeth up to five or six shades lighter.

How long does power bleaching on the chair take?

Your dentist will need to assess your teeth to make sure they are suitable for treatment. Once agreed, this process usually takes about an hour.

How much does teeth whitening cost?

The fees vary from practice to practice and from region to region. Laser or power whitening is more expensive than professional whitening. We recommend that you obtain a written cost estimate before starting treatment.

How long will my teeth stay whiter?

It is believed that the effects of whitening last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person. The effects are less likely to last if you smoke or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. Ask your dental team for their opinion before starting treatment.

What are the side effects?

Some people might find theirs Teeth become sensitive too cold during or after treatment. Others may have gum discomfort, a sore throat, or white spots on the gumline. These symptoms are usually temporary and should go away within a few days of completing treatment.

If any of these side effects persist, you should see your dentist.

What About Home Whitening Kits?

There are many home whitening kits available, including brighteners and paint-on strips. How effective these are
depends on the amount of brightener contained.

Home jerseys are cheaper, but they are not always checked for safety and tend to be more acidic. So, there is a chance that these products could damage your teeth and gums. Since teeth whitening is a complicated procedure, we recommend that you always speak to your dentist before starting treatment.

Home kit regulations vary from country to country. Kits sold in Europe are legally not allowed to 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. You need to be careful, however, as some kits sold on the internet may contain mild acids and abrasives.

How safe are beauty kiosks and beauticians?

In Europe and in some other countries, whitening can only be legally performed by a dentist. So teeth whitening from
Beauticians and whitening kiosks is illegal. In Europe, it is prohibited to sell bleach containing more than 0.1% peroxide (or the equivalent in carbamide peroxide) to anyone other than dentists or directly to the public.

These regulations serve to protect the public. They ensure that everyone doing the whitening is properly trained, and has the right skills and knowledge to perform the procedure without risking permanent damage to teeth or gums.

What about whitening toothpastes?

There are several whitening toothpastes on the market. While they won’t affect the natural color of your teeth, they can be effective at removing discoloration. Hence, they can improve the overall appearance of your teeth. Whitening toothpastes can also help ensure that the effects last after your teeth have been professionally whitened.

Can a single root-filled tooth be whitened?

Yes. Sometimes dead teeth become discolored after a root filling. Once the tooth has had its root canal, the canal (which contained the nerve) can be reopened. The whitening product is applied from the inside to whiten the tooth.

When can teeth whitening not work?

Teeth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth color. It also only works on natural teeth. It does not work with all types of “false” teeth such as: dentures, Crown and Veneers.

If your denture is discolored or discolored, visit your dental team and ask for a cleaning.

How can I take care of my teeth after whitening?

You can help keep your teeth white by reducing the amount of food and drink that can stain your teeth. Remember, quitting smoking can also help prevent discoloration and stains.

We recommend the following tips for dental care:

For free and impartial advice about your oral health, turn to ours Dental hotline by email or by phone on 01788 539780 (UK local rate).

Our Dental Helpline is completely confidential and has helped nearly 400,000 people since it opened over 20 years ago. Contact our experts by phone, email or online request, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

‘Incidence of tooth sensitivity after home whitening’ by Jorgensen and Carroll Published in JADA pp. 1076-1082 (August 2002).

Many thanks to Philips Oral HealthCarewho kindly gave us a Educational grant for this information. The support from Philips Oral HealthCare not only enables us to develop and maintain this advice online, but also means that we can continue to offer itital resource as a printed leaflet for dental practices and hospitals to be given to patients and to be placed in waiting areas.



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