9 Things You Need To Know Before Whitening Your Teeth

Teeth whitening is getting more accessible now – both over-the-counter and at your dentist – and fortunately the teeth whitening processes have come a long way as more and more people are getting it done.

If you’re considering whitening your teeth, here’s what you should know:

1. It’s a simple procedure

Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. Teeth whitening can’t make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several shades,

The dentist will check that your teeth are healthy and suitable to proceed, whilst also discussing your expectations. If you’re happy to continue, the dentist will first take an impression of the teeth.

The dentist will check that your teeth are healthy and suitable to proceed, whilst also discussing your expectations. If you’re happy to continue, the dentist will first take an impression of the teeth.

“This is a simple procedure that takes a mould so that the whitening trays can be made bespoke for yourself. A shade of your teeth before treatment is taken, so that you are able to compare the difference at the end. Another appointment is usually needed so that the whitening trays can be fitted and they will then demonstrate how to use the kits. There are different types of kit, but all will contain less than the maximum percentage of bleach, which is legally enforced.”

2. Teeth whitening will ONLY whiten real teeth

Like so many of us who have had work done at the dentists and have been left with dentures, crowns, fillings or veneers, bear in mind that teeth whitening will not work on these and the colour will remain unchanged. Steve says:

“Teeth whitening will only whiten your teeth. If you already have crowns or fillings these will remain unchanged. Sometimes these can be changed after treatment and matched to your new brighter smile. Usually it is only the fillings on your front teeth, if you have any, that may need changing, as these are the ones that are seen when you smile.”

3. You may be left with sensitivity

No matter what treatment you use, there is always a chance that your teeth and gums can be sensitive to the chemicals used – especially if you already suffer with sensitive teeth. Steve says:

“Some people find their teeth and gums may become more sensitive during treatment, but using toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth will reduce or stop this. It is rare for the sensitivity to continue when the treatment has been completed.”

4. Teeth whitening isn’t permanent

Teeth whitening treatments can provide great results for up to three years, says Steve. But this of course varies from person to person, and if you smoke or drink red wine, tea or coffee then this can also reduce the time that you teeth remain whiter.

“A good tip is to keep the mouthguard made by the clinician (which holds the bleach next to your teeth) in a safe place, as this can be used if you require top ups in future years.”

5. It has to be done by a dentist

Teeth whitening can only be legally performed by a dental care professional; either a dentist, hygienist or therapist that has undergone suitable training who is registered with the General Dental Council. Registered dental therapists and dental hygienists can also carry out teeth whitening on the prescription of a dentist. A clinician can only use certain materials of a specific strength and the dentistry profession is highly regulated, says Steve.

“Kits bought over the internet may appear cheaper, but should be avoided as the bleach used may be the incorrect strength and damaging to teeth. Also the mouthguard will not fit your mouth properly and the bleach will not be held in the correct place and is therefore illegal.”

6. Whitening can take effect as quickly as within an hour

For an immediate change whitening can be carried out in the dental surgery within an hour, advises Steve.

“Usually this is best accompanied with the take home kits for a longer effect. This is popular for people who want that instant change.”

Some patients get an even better response by having their teeth professionally cleaned prior to whitening as this will remove the stains.

7. DIY home teeth whitening kits aren’t always as effective

The home kits are unregulated so it’s difficult to know exactly what you are putting on your teeth, says Steve. Some home kits contain very high levels of bleaching material, which can also cause burns.

“The success of bleaching is dependent on a close fitting whitening tray which a dentist can make, but in home kits this will be left to the individual to fit and excess whitening gel can damage the gums. I would never use a home kit bought over the internet as I would not want to risk permanent damage to my teeth.”

8. It’s important to ask some questions before going ahead with the treatment

It’s important to be fully informed before undergoing any treatment, says Steve.

“Some questions you should be asking include; will I need to replace any fillings or crowns on my front teeth, as whitening does not change the colour of these. If I do get some sensitivity, what would your advice be? How much will this cost? If I need subsequent top up treatments, how much will they cost?”

9. If you’re unhappy with the results, speak up

There can be no guarantees, but in general the teeth whiten up to two shades. If you do experience some sensitivity, you can either use a sensitive toothpaste or stop the procedure, as there are usually no long-lasting problems, says Steve.

“As long as you see a dentist, they will only use a specific level of whitening gel and severe side-effects are extremely uncommon. If you are unhappy with the treatment you should discuss this with the practice.”

1 comment

  1. Reply

    i love your blog and always like new things coming up from it.

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