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Why should you choose a dentist for tooth whitening?

Why should you choose a dentist for tooth whitening?

Most of us would love to have whiter teeth.  There are lots of home tooth-whitening kits, whitening toothpastes and whitening strips on the market today, but are they safe, and can you be sure they’ll actually work?  Our blog explains why choosing your dentist to carry out your tooth whitening is the safest, most effective way of getting a whiter, brighter smile.

What is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is the process of applying special fluid to your teeth to make them lighter.   The active ingredient is usually either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.  As the active ingredient breaks down, oxygen is released into the enamel of your teeth, which causes it to lighten. 

Why should I whiten my teeth?

Many people find having whiter teeth help them look and feel more confident.  Teeth naturally come in different shades of white, and very few people have brilliantly white teeth.  Food, drink, smoking and age can all take their toll.  If you think whiter teeth would help improve the appearance of your smile, professional tooth whitening is an easy and safe choice.

Is tooth whitening safe?

As long as tooth whitening is carried out by a qualified dental professional, tooth whitening is perfectly safe.

It is actually illegal for anyone other than a qualified dental professional to carry out teeth whitening.  This is because the amount of active ingredient in the whitening fluid must be correctly monitored.  Too much could permanently damage your teeth and gums.  Too little and it may not whiten your teeth at all.

Over-the-counter or whitening kits bought online often don’t declare the quantity of chemicals in the tooth whitening fluid, which means it’s difficult to tell whether they’re safe or not.

Tooth whitening carried out by your dentist is the safest, most effective option.  Your dentist will examine your teeth and mouth, talk you through your choices and recommend a treatment plan which is right for you.

What does tooth whitening involve?

The most common tooth whitening procedure involves using professional bleaching fluid placed in ‘trays’ which sit over your teeth.  There are two types of trays available.  Off the shelf  ‘trays’ will fit over your teeth and will hold the bleaching fluid which whiten your teeth.  The second, preferred option, is for your dentist to create custom-made trays which are moulded perfectly to your teeth.  If you choose this option, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and a unique tray will be created to fit over your teeth perfectly.  These trays are close fitting and comfortable enough to wear overnight, so your teeth are whitened as you sleep.

Laser or power-whitening is another way of achieving whiter teeth and is a good option if you would like to whiten your teeth quickly.  This type of tooth whitening is carried out in the dental surgery.  A protective shield is placed over your gums and your teeth will be painted with bleaching fluid.  A laser or light is then shone over your teeth, which speeds up the lightening process.   As well as being quicker, this type of tooth whitening can also achieve whiter results than standard tooth whitening.

How long does tooth whitening take?

You will usually need to wear the tooth whitening trays overnight for around two weeks.  You could see an improvement in the colour of your teeth within just a few days of treatment.

It’s normally recommended that you avoid drinking fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, smoking or eating ‘staining’ foods like tomatoes.  This is because your teeth become temporarily more porous whilst they are being whitened, and you may not see the full results.

Alternatively, laser or power whitening can take around an hour and you will be treated in the dental surgery.

Is tooth whitening right for me?

Tooth whitening carried out by your dentist is a safe, effective way of lightening the colour of your teeth, but it may not be suitable for everyone.  If you have any artificial teeth, such as dentures, crowns or veneers, they will not lighten.

Some people experience mild side-effects and discomfort during the whitening process.  Your teeth and gums may become sensitive.  During the treatment period, you should brush your teeth gently to avoid any discomfort.  Sensitivity usually disappears within a few days of finishing your treatment.

Contact the Practice today

Visiting your dentist for tooth whitening is the safest way of brightening your smile.  If you would like to find out more about whether tooth whitening is right for you, please contact the Practice today on 01460 61671.

For more information about tooth whitening, why not visit the British Dental Association website?