Do you have a wedding or special occasion coming up? If you are a bride to be you will want to look your very best for your big day. Teeth whitening will enhance your smile and make it brighter for those special photographs. Teeth whitening is a very popular cosmetic treatment due to the fact that no tooth surface is lost, unlike veneers or crowns.
What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it may lighten the existing shade.
Why would I need my teeth whitened?
There are a number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different; just as our hair and skin colour vary, so do our teeth. Very few people have brilliant white teeth, and our teeth can also become more discoloured as we get older.
Your teeth can also be stained on the surface by food and drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and blackcurrant. Smoking can also stain teeth.
‘Calculus’ or tartar can also affect the colour of your teeth. Some people may have staining under the surface, which can be caused by certain antibiotics or by tiny cracks in the teeth which take up stains.
What are the side effects?
Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have discomfort in the gums, or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing.
If any of these side effects continue you should see your dentist.
Can a single tooth which has been root filled be whitened?
Yes. Sometimes dead teeth go discoloured after a root filling. If the tooth has been root treated, the canal (which contained the nerve) may be reopened. The whitening product is applied from the inside to whiten the tooth.
How long does tooth whitening take?
Active treatment will take 7-10 days but the treatment will continue to work for 4-6 weeks. First, your dentist will examine you and assess your suitably for tooth whitening. Your dental team will need to make a mouthguard and will take impressions for this at the first appointment. Once your dentist has started the treatment, you will need to continue the treatment at home. This means regularly applying the whitening product over 7-10 days for one to two hours at a time.
Your dentist will advise you how use the tooth whitening gel.
When might tooth whitening not work?
Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour. Also it only works on natural teeth. It will not work on any types of ‘false’ teeth such as dentures, crowns and veneers.