Have you ever noticed how so many music and film stars flash dazzling white smiles as they grace the covers of the latest celebrity magazines? Showing off a set of sparkling white teeth with a big, confident smile completes that celebrity look for those special occasions when the world’s media is watching.
Whilst we firmly believe strong, healthy teeth and gums are more important than their colour, the fact remains that many people are unsatisfied with the colour and appearance of their teeth, and wonder what they can do about it.
Our lifestyles can have a big impact on the colour of our teeth – and although drinks like coffee and red wine are enjoyable, there’s no doubt that drinking these types of beverages regularly, and other habits – like smoking – can cause unsightly staining.
So – is a Hollywood smile within your reach? Definitely. Tooth whitening is becoming more accessible than ever before.
What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening usually means professional bleaching – which removes the calculus build-up on your teeth and lightens their appearance. If the treatment is right for you, this type of tooth whitening involves protecting your gums with a rubber barrier or gel, then immersing your teeth in the bleaching agent, usually using a custom-made tray which fits into your mouth.
The active ingredient, usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, whitens the teeth by oxygenating the enamel and making it lighter.
It usually takes a few weeks to complete the treatment in full. You’ll need two or three visits to the dentist to take impressions of your teeth and to start the treatment, then, you will apply the whitening product yourself at home for the remaining treatment time.
Laser, or ‘power whitening’, is quicker than traditional tooth whitening using bleach, because the whitening process is sped up by the use of a special laser which speeds up the chemical reaction on your teeth. This procedure will be carried out by your dentist, and the shades achieved are often lighter than traditional bleaching. Because it is much quicker (usually around an hour), laser whitening is usually slightly more expensive than traditional tooth whitening.
How long does tooth whitening last?
Tooth whitening can last for several years, but if you regularly eat or drink products which stain your teeth, or if you smoke, the effects won’t last as long. Your dentist will be able to advise you before you start the treatment.
Are there any side effects to tooth whitening?
Some people find their teeth feel sensitive during or after the treatment. Others may find their gums become slightly sore. The extent of sensitivity varies from person to person, but the effects should wear off within a few days of finishing your treatment. If your teeth and gums keep feeling uncomfortable, however, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your dentist.
Can I whiten my teeth with over-the-counter products?
We strongly recommend you visit your dentist for your tooth whitening procedure. Your dentist will be make sure the treatment is right for you, and will recommend products which are tested and regulated as safe-to-use.
What about ‘whitening toothpaste’?
Although whitening toothpastes won’t lighten the enamel of your teeth, they can help to remove staining caused by food, drink and smoking and are a good choice to use after you’ve had your teeth whitened to keep stains at bay.
Is tooth whitening for me?
Many people accept their natural tooth colour, and gradual discolouration as we age, and, as long as you keep up an effective oral hygiene routine, the colour of your teeth shouldn’t really matter. However, if you do long for that dazzling white smile, it’s now easier to achieve than ever. We believe a confident, bright smile helps make you feel better about yourself, so it’s definitely worth doing!Previous