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Whiter teeth

We all want to look our best and a brighter, whiter smile can do so much to enhance your appearance.

In-surgery or at home tooth whitening techniques can be a highly effective way of lightening the colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface.

What is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is a procedure for lightening the colour of teeth. Two mild bleaching preparations, hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, are generally used. These can either be applied in the surgery, where they are activated by heat or light, or they can be used at home in custom-made ‘trays. These trays are a transparent plastic devices designed specifically for your teeth to hold the preparation in position over your teeth. These are usually worn at night.

How long does it take?

The length of treatment will depend on the colour of your teeth and the result you want to achieve. Mild discolouration, for example, will usually respond to home treatment over the course of two to four weeks whereas more severe staining may take longer. Your dentist will be able to advise you further during the initial consultation.

What causes teeth to discolour?

Teeth naturally discolour with age and whitening can provide you with a more youthful appearance. Other common causes of tooth discoloration are drinks such as coffee, red wine, foods such as curries and red berries, and smoking.

Who can benefit from tooth whitening?

Most people will benefit from tooth whitening.

Discolouration on some teeth may not respond as well as others, and some can take longer or be more difficult to treat. Your dentist will be able to advise you during the initial consultation on the most suitable technique for your teeth, and the expected timescale and result.

Existing fillings, crowns and veeners will not be lightened. However, old restorations can be replaced if they look dark after the treatment is complete.

Tooth whitening is not recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or allergic to plastic or peroxide.

Are there any side effects?

Sensitivity during treatment or for a few days afterwards is the most commonly reported side effect. If this happens it usually disappears of its own accord soon after the treatment has stopped. Any sensitivity can be eased by the use of a sensitive toothpaste or a fluoride mouthwash.