Tooth whitening is a highly effective way of lightening teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces.
What does tooth whitening involve?
Tooth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens discoloration and removes stains from within the enamel of the teeth. During your consultation the procedure will be discussed with you to determine if tooth whitening is suitable in your case. Tooth whitening does not affect the colour of artificial teeth, crowns, veneers or filings. An impression of your teeth is taken with dental compound. This is used to make thin, clear trays, which fit snugly over your teeth. You are given syringes of gel that contain 16% carbamide peroxide bleaching agent. You simply place some gel in the tray and fit it over the teeth for a few hours a day for one to three weeks. You need to wear the tray for at least three hours each day or overnight if you prefer.
Why whiten my teeth ?
White teeth look great, attractive, youthful and clean. Few people have naturally white teeth. Teeth can become darker with age, smoking and drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine will also progressively darken the teeth.
Is the process safe?
Yes. Research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth with carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums.
What if I am pregnant?
To date, there has been no testing done on the effects of tooth whitening while pregnant or breastfeeding. To be cautious we recommend that you do not have your teeth whitened during pregnancy.
Are there any side effects?
Most people find their teeth become sensitive to cold during the treatment. This lessens after a few days, but you may find you need to have a break from whitening for a day or so or use ‘sensodyne’ to reduce the effects. If you have naturally white flecks in your enamel these will become more apparent during treatment but will fade following treatment.
How long will my teeth stay white?
The effects of whitening normally last for many years, although this will vary from person to person. Inevitably with time the teeth will start to darken again due to drinks and food (and more rapidly if you are a smoker). Most people like to maintain their whitening effect by using the gel for one or two nights every three to six months.
Additional syringes of gel can be purchased for £15.00 each.
Are there other methods?
Yes “zoom“ ’ power whitening’ and “laser whitening” are all techniques which are completed at single visit in the surgery. They use extra strong gels kept on teeth for an hour and are often activated using bright lights. There are some disadvantages to this technique; it’s more expensive (typically £450-£600). Can be uncomfortable and can produce a less long term shade change of the teeth; largely due to dehydration of the enamel. As a practice we do not recommend or offer this type of treatment.
How much does it cost?
Teeth whitening at Llynfi Dental costs £195. This includes: initial assessment, scaling to remove any tartar, impressions, upper and lower whitening trays, storage case , 4 syringes of whitening gel (usually enough for about three weeks of whitening if necessary) and advice.
Tooth whitening is not available as an NHS treatment
What about whitening toothpastes?
Whitening toothpastes do not affect the natural colour of your teeth. They may be effective at removing staining and may help maintain the effect of professional whitening.
Is teeth whitening OK for everyone?
Teeth whitening can only lighten the existing colour of natural teeth. It will not work on any type of ‘false ‘teeth such as crowns, veneers or dentures. These may need replacing if they are stained or are the wrong colour. If you have fillings, these will not change and may also need replacing to match your whitened teeth. Under UK law we are unable to lighten children’s teeth until they are 18 years.
What about home kits?
Home kits are cheap, but are usually not very effective. Over the counter kits are sold in the UK are not recommended as they contain only a very small concentrate of peroxide (whitening agent). To be effective gels need to have at least 3.6%. Many home kits contain mild acids / or abrasive. Acid or abrasives used on teeth will ultimately make teeth even yellower with time by damaging the enamel of your teeth.