Are You Considering Tooth Whitening? What You Need to Know

tooth whitening

I have thousands of patients contacting me each year wanting to have pearly white teeth, the same as the celebrities they see on the television. The first thing I tell all my patients is that white teeth are not natural and a tooth whitening process will lighten their natural teeth by a few shades, but it will not make them white.

This is something everyone needs to realise. The majority of celebrities people see on their television screens have implants or veneers that have been made white. Tooth whitening is still very effective and will lighten the shade of the teeth for a few months and will cover up any discolouration or stains the patient may have.

There are a few options available. I do not recommend over the counter kits. These can be dangerous to the teeth in the long run and I have had patients who have visited me after trying these kits for a while that suffer with tooth sensitivity as the ingredients they use actually eat into the enamel of the tooth, which is the hard outer coating that protects the sensitive dental pulp within the tooth.

Home Kits

The problem with home whitening kits is that they are made on a general scale. This means the mouth guard enclosed in the packaging is not designed specifically for that patient. This means that the patient will find that some areas of their teeth will lighten more than others and the risk of whitening the gums is increased as the mixture pushes out of the guard onto the gums, which can also cause discomfort.

Professional Whitening Options

There are two options patients can choose from under the safe supervision of their dentist. In the UK tooth whitening is only perfumed in private dental practices.

The first option works similar to the home whitening kits, but it is carried out by the dentist. We do a mould of the patient’s mouth and provide them with the whitening gel and strict instructions on how to use it. We show them the correct methods to use to ensure an even whitening. This requires the patient visit the dentist a number of times throughout the process to ensure the whitening is going according to plan.

The second and most popular option is laser treatment. This provides the patients uwith a lightening shade within one visit. We put a whitening gel directly onto the teeth while the patient is in the surgery and then use a laser which activates the gel. Patients can see a significant lighting to their natural teeth in a single visit which can last months.


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