Teeth whitening is an effective treatment to restore the whiteness and brightness of teeth and leaves you feeling shiny on the inside too
As the years go by there are several factors that affect the colour of teeth. Foods like chocolate, coffee, soft drink and wine all stain teeth, while some types of medication cause discolouring. The natural process of ageing also diminishes teeth colour. The upshot of this is that discoloured teeth can decrease a person’s self-confidence; but there is a solution.
This is when a teeth whitening treatment can be beneficial. While products are available from the chemist, like all dentistry-related procedures it’s important to visit a professional dentist to understand the options and what’s involved. In our practice, we offer two teeth whitening procedures—in-chair whitening and a take-home whitening kit.
Our approach is to sit down with the patient for a consultation to go through the teeth whitening options, making sure that they fully understand the procedure and that everything is in order to proceed. As part of this, we set realistic expectations about the results, as the teeth whitening treatment can change the colour of the teeth by two or three degrees, while the shade of the teeth can also change and lighten by two or three degrees.
The materials dentists use for teeth whitening procedures differ to those in off-the-shelf products. The materials used in the surgery are much stronger and should be used under the dentist’s observation. When we perform the in-chair whitening procedure in our practice, the dentist is available during the whole treatment to check on everything. For example, as soon as the teeth start to become sensitive we put on the de-sensitising gel to ensure the patient is as comfortable as possible throughout the entire treatment.
The in-chair whitening procedure works by using a blue light to activate the material in the whitening gel. The light triggers the active ingredient, hydrogen-peroxide, and the oxygen penetrates to the tooth tissue without affecting or changing the surface of the tooth.
The take-home whitening kit option consists of a clear tray and some whitening gel that the patient puts into the tray and uses for an hour at night. The main difference is the take-home kit takes longer as it must be used for seven to 10 days to see the result, as opposed to an immediate result with the in-chair teeth whitening treatment. Some patients choose to boost the effect of the in-chair whitening treatment by using the take-home kit as well.
There is a potential risk with the off-the-shelf teeth whitening products if the material and the whitening gel is not up to standard. It can affect the tooth chemically and wear the tooth enamel. It’s like, for example, if you drink a lot of soft drink or eat a lot of acidic food, it can chemically affect the tooth.
Most patients in our practice are really happy with the results of their teeth whitening procedure; we’ve had very good results. We take photos before the treatment and then choose the desired shade of colour. After the treatment we take more photos and the patient gets a good ‘before and after’ look of their teeth. On average, the teeth whitening treatment lasts for a year or two but it can last longer for some patients, depending on diet and oral hygiene. As soon as there are any changes in teeth colour, there’s no issue coming back and getting the treatment done again.
Find out more about our approach to teeth whitening