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Tooth Whitening

Frequently asked questions about Teeth Whitening

Whitening your teeth will be achieved by your dentist fitting you with ‘trays’ (thin plastic mouthguards) which are usually worn in the evenings for several hours over a period of a few weeks. An impression is required to make the trays. The gel is inserted by the patient into the tray before each use. The gel we use is carbamide peroxide gel.

How long should I wear the trays for?

This depends on the amount of lightening that you desire and the original shade of the teeth. If your teeth are quite dark,very yellow or grey it will take longer to whiten the teeth. If you are not experiencing any sensitivity you may wear the trays for at least 1-2 hours. It is very important to remove all the excess material around the gums or the palate.

The darker your teeth, the longer your teeth will take to get lighter. Most teeth whiten after one month.

If you cannot wear the trays for a few days, for example because of a hectic schedule, it does not matter. Whiten your teeth according to your own schedule.

What do I do if I have any sensitivity?

Sensitivity of teeth is the most common side effect. In fact many patients suffer from sensitive teeth any way. This occurs usually around the necks of the teeth for a few days. Use of de-sensitizing toothpaste will usually stop the sensitivity. If you like, you can rub the de-sensitizing toothpaste into the gum margins with you finger several times per day for a few days. If you are at all concerned, please call your dentist.

What happens if the teeth do not whiten evenly?

If the teeth have white spots on them before whitening, these spots will appear whiter during the first few days, however the contrast between the spots and the rest of the tooth will be less and eventually they will not be as noticeable. As the whole tooth itself becomes lighter these spots will fade. You may notice these white spots immediately after a whitening session. Some teeth may appear banded with lighter/whiter areas. Again these banding are originally present on the tooth. As the tooth is dark these bandings are not obvious. As the tooth becomes lighter, the lighter parts of the tooth will lighten first followed by the darker banded area. After a week or so these will not be noticeable any more.

What about my smile?

Your smile will appear brighter as a bonus. It is very rare, but sometimes the teeth do not lighten at all. If this happens and you are wearing the trays as recommended, you may need to try a different product or a slightly higher concentration of the whitening gel.

If you have white fillings in the front teeth or crowns that match the existing shade of your teeth before you whiten your teeth, they may not match the teeth afterwards. This is because your teeth can lighten but the fillings do not lighten. When the desired colour has been achieved, the dentist can replace these fillings with a lighter shade of filling material to match the new shade of your teeth. Normally the dentist will wait a period of time before changing the fillings.

How long does the whitening last? Will I have to whiten my teeth again?

Normally the new white colour of your teeth is quite long lasting.The effect is dependent on what has caused the teeth to discolour in the first place. If you drink lots of coffee or red wine, for example the teeth may darken again. Some patients do a top up treatment from time to time. Some patients do not need to.

Does whitening cause harm to teeth or gums?

Safety studies have shown that whitening teeth using the dentist prescribed home whitening technique is perfectly safe on the teeth, cheeks, gum and tissue of the mouth.

It is not advisable to whiten your teeth if you smoke. It is best to stop smoking for at least 3 weeks before commencing the whitening procedure. Smoking causes the teeth to darken anyway and the effects will be diminished.

The technique of whitening teeth is not for everybody. There are some situations where whitening teeth is contraindicated such as where the front teeth are already crowned or where there are very large fillings on the front teeth or where teeth are already excessively worn and there is tooth surface loss. The most ideal situation is where there is not much wrong with the teeth except for the colour which has become more yellow with age.

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For more information and to request an appointment, please call our friendly team on 01476 563 164 or email us via our online contact form »

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