tooth whitening

What is tooth whitening for?

Tooth whitening (bleaching) is a cosmetic procedure for lightening the existing tooth colour. The chemical used for whitening is either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The chemical in the form of gel is usually applied using a specially made tray fitting your teeth.

What are indications and contraindications for tooth whitening?

The dentist will usually recommend tooth whitening if your teeth are affected by any of the following: general staining caused by exposure to colouring foods and drinks, mild tetracycline staining or flurosis (mottling), age yellowing and greying.

Contraindications include severe tetracycline staining, severe flurosis, plastic or peroxide allergy. It is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

How many appointments will I need for whitening?

You will need 2 visits to your dentist. You will be informed about the alternatives to bleaching such as crowns and veneers. The dentist should warn you that the necks of your teeth will not lighten as much as the rest and you may have some temporal sensitivity. Finally the dentist will take impressions for the trays which will be made at the dental laboratory.

How long will the whitening effect last?

The treatment results depend on the original shade of your teeth. The effect usually lasts for one to three years but can last longer depending on the diet. Then you may need to top up. Some people find that their teeth are extra sensitive during the treatment but this wears off after treatment is complete.

Are over-the-counter whitening kits as effective?

Tooth whitening is a complex treatment procedure that should be carried out by a dentist after thorough examination and assessment of your teeth. To ensure achievement of the desired results it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions. Although the over- the-counter kits are cheaper than the whitening treatment offered by the dentist they are not as effective due to reduced concentration of hydrogen peroxide, besides, some kits contain mild acids whilst others are mildly abrasive.

Does whitening work on veneers and crowns?

Whitening only works on natural teeth and it doesn't’t work on any type of false teeth including dentures, crowns and veneers. Stained veneers, crowns and dentures may need replacing so check with your dentist first.

Can whitening toothpastes replace whitening treatment?

Whitening toothpastes are no substitute for professional tooth whitening. Although effective at stain removal they do not affect the natural shade of teeth. They are helpful in maintaining the appearance of professionally whitened teeth.