Posted on 1st April 2018 at 15:19
Tooth colour is genetically determined just like your hair. However teeth tend to darken with age and can also become stained. Causes of tooth staining are commonly tea, coffee, red wine, some spicy foods and tobacco.
Most staining can be removed by a scale and polish which can be carried out by a dental surgeon, therapist or hygienist. A Prophy Jet can also be used. The Prophy Jet System uses a fruit flavoured bicarbonate of soda jet to remove staining from individual teeth. This can usually be done at a scale and polish appointment.
Teeth bleaching or whitening is a more thorough and lasting way to whiten teeth.
NB Tooth whitening carried out by beauticians hairdressers or similarly styled salons may cause irreversible damage and is illegal in the UK. Self treatment kits purchased on the web may be ineffective or dangerous even if you have self made mould trays. Don’t be tempted...long term damage may not be evident immediately. This is why the government has restricted these products to use by dentists only. Safe whitening is not cheap. If it is cheap it is probably wrong.
There are essentially two methods that can be employed to whiten teeth. These are home bleaching and in-surgery bleaching or a combination of both.
A close fitting gum shield is made from models taken of the patient’s mouth. A bleaching agent, usually a gel, is placed inside the gum shield and it is worn by the patient, usually in the evening. This treatment can be carried out by the patient at home usually over a period of two weeks. The patient is responsible for using the bleaching agents and trays in the prescribed way. As this is done at home, lack of control by the dentist means that the results are less predictable than in-surgery or home and in-surgery whitening.
This method is carried out in the surgery. It can be used following home treatment for best results or on its own. The bleaching agent is applied to each tooth individually, with the gel producing free radicals, the elements which break down staining on the teeth.
The treatment can be optimised for each patient and it takes approximately one and a half hour to complete. In-surgery whitening has the benefit of close direct control by the dental surgeon and the result is therefore more predictable. The correct amount of bleaching gel is used and the soft tissues of the mouth are properly protected.
We offer laser tooth whitening. This is a quicker surgery appointment followed by whitening trays at home. Laser whitening is fast, comfortable and effective.
Patients can experience some sensitivity for a few days following teeth whitening treatments, but this can usually be controlled with specific toothpastes or applications in the surgery.
The best results are obtained by home whitening followed by in surgery whitening, or the other way around if laser whitening is used. For these methods we can give you the best shade change to at least a set colour or better.
Risks and Complications
Most patients are entirely happy with the final result. It is important that expectations are not too high. Whilst it is possible to achieve the results most people want sometimes the level of whiteness is not as expected. A final shade colour can not be absolutely guaranteed.
Some patients experience some sensitivity during the first few days of the process. This is usually nothing like the acute sensitivity often experienced some years ago. However if sensitivity persists you may be advised to progress no further.
The colour change will fade with time largely dependant on your diet but a top up at home every month or so usually restores the initial result.
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