Teeth Whitening

Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedures that can improve your discoloured teeth. Your teeth can be whitened through this process by removing stains. Most individual dentists and dental clinics near you now offer teeth whitening treatment.

What does teeth whitening involve?

Having your teeth whitened is a very good way of making the natural colour of the teeth whiter while avoiding removing any of the tooth surface.

Why do teeth need whitening?

There are several things that might make teeth whitening something you would consider. They include:

  • Staining from food and drink

  • Discolouration from ageing

  • Smoking

  • A build up of tartar

  • Under surface antibiotic staining

  • Cracks that have filled with stains

  • Trauma to the front teeth that can become darker over time

What is involved in professional teeth whitening?

Having teeth professionally bleached is the most common way that teeth whitening is achieved. You will be assessed for your suitability for the treatment. Your dental team will take accurate moulds of your mouth and construct upper and lower trays that fit like a mouth guard for you to use as the tools of whitening teeth at home and if required, a higher concentration can be used in the office. Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide are the most commonly used agents that work by allowing oxygen to permeate the enamel, lightening the colour.

How much does teeth whitening cost?

The cost of teeth whitening treatment in dentist office will vary between practices. It depends on the types of your treatment procedure. Generally, the cost varies from £300 to £1,000 or more. The cost of laser or power tooth whitening will be more than take home professionally made trays bleaching. The best advice we can give is to shop around and to ask for estimates before you embark on any treatment. Professionally made take home trays work better, last longer and less expensive.

What is the time scale for teeth whitening?

Usually treatment will take from 2-3 weeks and require two to three visits to the dentist. An impression of your teeth will be taken on your first visit and from this your mouth guard will be manufactured. Once treatment has started then you will have to continue the treatment when you are at home. You will need to use the teeth whitening products for a period of between 2-4 weeks and commit to treating your teeth for 6-8 hours at a time, easily done by wearing the mouth guard overnight. Ask our dentists about the products that are used for 8 hours at a time that can produce results in as little as 7 -14 days.

What are the latest advances in teeth Whitening?

Laser whitening or 'power whitening' is new to the market. This teeth whitening method involves your teeth being protected by a rubber dam while the whitening agent is painted onto your teeth. Next a laser is shone onto your teeth to activate the whitening agent. This will speed up the reaction of the professional teeth whitening products and a colour change, of up to five or six shades lighter, will be achieved faster.

How long will I be in the dentist's chair for power whitening?

Once your dentist has examined your mouth and declared that you are suitable for treatment the procedure should take approximately 1- 1.5 hours.

When can I eat after teeth whitening?

It is best for you to wait 48 hours after professionally whitening your teeth before you take any dark liquids, sauces, or foods. 

How long will the effects of teeth whitening last?

In general the effect of tooth whitening will last about three years but there will be some variation from individual to individual. If you are a smoker or a user of some of the other things that typically stain teeth, the effect will not last as long. Discuss this with your dental team before treatment starts.

Are there any side effects?

Sometimes people who have had their teeth whitened complain that their teeth can be sensitive to cold after or even during treatment. Some people have reported some temporary discomfort in their gums. Occasionally a sore throat is experienced or white patches on the gum line. However, all these symptoms are usually temporary and will resolve shortly after the end of treatment. If any side effects do persist you should always make contact with your dentist.

Are home whitening kits a good idea?

There are certainly lots of home whitening kits on the market including:

  • Paint-on whiteners
  • Strips

The efficacy of any one of these treatments will depend on how much whitening agent is in them. The regulations on the sale of home teeth whitening kits does vary through the world and it is true that some of the kits on sale are not effective. The best idea is to ask your dental team to advise you before you embark on any home tooth whitening.

Do teeth whitening toothpastes work?

There are quite a few whitening toothpastes on the market. In general, you would not expect them to change the colour of your teeth although they might be quite effective at tackling staining. Although they do not affect the natural colour of your teeth, they may be effective at removing staining. The use of whitening toothpaste will help improve the appearance of your teeth and will also help to prolong the effect of your professional teeth whitening at home.

Can a tooth be whitened that has been root filled?

Yes. Dead teeth will sometimes discolour after they have been root filled. If a tooth has been root treated, the canal containing the nerve may be reopened. The whitening products would, in this case, be applied from the inside of the tooth in a process called internal bleaching.

Does tooth whitening ever fail to work?

Tooth whitening will only ever lighten existing tooth colour and it will only work on natural teeth. False teeth, veneers, dentures and crowns cannot be whitened. If you have stained dentures, your dental team will be able to get them cleaned for you.

What is the best way to care for my teeth after they have been whitened?

By having a maintenance program, this will involve wearing the custom made trays by your dentist one night every other month.

The following will also help:

  • Brush your teeth regularly, especially at night before bed

  • Use a fluoride toothpaste

  • Cut back on sugary foods and drinks

  • Make regular visits to your dental surgery