What is Tooth Whitening and what does it Involve?
Everyone’s teeth are made up of an inner dentin layer and a hard outer enamel layer which protects the teeth. When you eat and drink another layer slowly accumulates over the top of your enamel and over a period of years starts to penetrate the porous enamel discolouring it. During routine dental check-ups and hygiene visits your teeth will be cleaned well, however, because these staining agents have penetrated the deeper layers of the teeth they can’t be simply scoured away and require a chemical reaction (specifically, an oxidation reaction) to break apart the staining compounds. Tooth whitening is method of lightening the natural colour of teeth without removing any of the tooth structure. It cannot make teeth ‘ceramic white’ i.e. brilliant white but can certainly lighten the existing colour by a few shades. The active ingredient in tooth whitening systems is hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and it works to open the pores of the enamel layer of the teeth so that the oxygen molecules from the bleaching product can break down the deeper discoloration.
At LPID we offer two methods of tooth whitening: in surgery (Laser) whitening and a home whitening kit.
First, teeth are cleaned to remove surface debris and checked to ensure gums are healthy. Following this, a whitening product (usually gel) is applied to the teeth and left to settle whilst a bright laser light is shone on to them to activate and enhance the whitening effects of the gel. This process takes approximately 1 hour and may require a home whitening kit to maintain results.
This method involves taking a mould of the teeth (in clinic) to create your tooth whitening tray. Once formed, a whitening solution is applied to the tray and worn by the patient for 1-2 hours at home for 14 days consecutively. This process may need to be repeated depending on final results.
How long will my Results Last?
The effects of tooth whitening may last up to three years, but this depends on the individual as your results are less likely to last well if you continue to smoke or consume high coloured food and drink. Regular hygiene visits will also help to maintain a bright smile and ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
Are there any side effects to consider?
Side effects of teeth whitening are minimal and often temporary disappearing in as little as a few hours following treatment. Some patients report sore gums following treatment and others slight tooth sensitivity to the cold – both of which can be managed very well with a desensitising toothpaste. Our specialist team at LPID will go over any side effects and how to minimise these during your visit.
What about home whitening kits and whitening toothpaste?
There are many home whitening kits and various toothpastes available on the market today as well as many whitening strips and paints. The effectiveness of these depends on the percentage of whitening agent they contain and although home kits may be cheaper, they are not always assessed for effectiveness or safety and often contain more abrasives which can be damaging to the teeth and gums.
Home kits and toothpastes sold in Europe must only contain up to 0.1% peroxide which is too little to be effective.
Am I a suitable candidate for this treatment?
As everyone’s teeth share the same anatomy, almost anyone who uses a tooth whitening agent will benefit to some extent. Many patients who decide to go ahead with treatment, describe a lack of confidence or embarrassment when smiling if their teeth have dulled or discoloured, your smile is often the first thing that someone notices about you and can have a profound impact on your confidence. Anyone who is feeling self-conscious about their smile may want to consider a teeth whitening treatment with us.
Whitening is not recommended for people who experience chronic sensitivity, oral cancer, advanced periodontal disease or excessively worn or damaged tooth enamel. Teeth that appear translucent may worsen with any whitening application.
What aftercare is required?
A desensitising toothpaste may be required. Regular hygiene visits and dental check-ups are recommended following treatment to maintain a bright smile and ensure the health of your teeth and gums.
If you would like to find out more about Teeth Whitening Treatments at LPID please contact us on: 0207 563 9989