Teeth bleaching Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I ensure my teeth look white? What foods and activities should I avoid?
2. Can I lighten the colour of my teeth?
3. How does Teeth bleaching work?
4. What are the Teeth bleaching options available?
5. How long does the procedure take and what will I experience during the procedure?
6. How long should I wear the Teeth bleaching trays for?
7. How safe is Teeth bleaching?
8. What do I do if I have any sensitivity?
9. What happens if the teeth do not whiten evenly?
10.How will my teeth feel?
11. What about my smile?
12. How long does the bleaching last? Will I have to whiten my teeth again?
13.Does bleaching harm the teeth or gums?
14.Why should I trust that you are the dentist for me?
Many people are no longer satisfied with yellow or discoloured teeth no matter how healthy they may be. More and more people are demanding whiter and brighter teeth to avoid an ‘unhealthy’ appearance. Over 85% of adults say that an unattractive smile makes someone less appealing to the opposite sex. Your Smile is unique. It tells the world about you in so many ways. Your smile is an important part of nonverbal communication, a sign of your vitality and mood and your general wellbeing.
Consider Teeth bleaching for all sorts of reasons:
- A Special Occasion like Weddings, Birthdays, Graduations, Anniversaries and other occasions when you are a focus of attention for your friends and relatives and a camera lens.
- Career Confidence – as many of us spend most of our time at work, it is understandable that we want to ensure that we look fresh and healthy to maximise job prospects.
- Holiday Preparation – looking good on the beach on holiday is routine and add to that healthy white teeth and you’ll want to show off your snaps.
- Boosting Confidence – looking good provides a BIG step towards feeling good and a great smile can give you an enormous lift.
- Dating Scene – Talking to new people is always daunting and if you’re not happy with your teeth then you are unlikely to smile and enjoy making conversation.
- Friendly Encouragement - friends & family are often our worst critics and like to recommend taking steps to improve ourselves. Often grandparents wish to have their teeth whitened following comments from their grandchildren.
- Anti-Ageing – many are considering bleaching teeth as part of their anti-ageing regime. Yellowing teeth are a big giveaway when it comes to pinpointing your age.
How can I ensure my teeth look white? What foods and activities should I avoid?
Majority of people are born with healthy teeth. Due to modern diets, we are all prone to extrinsic staining
to greater or a lesser extent. The most common reasons why people’s teeth darken with time are:
2. Beverages (tea, coffee, red wine, cola)
3. Foods (curry, fried foods, foods with colouring, berries, beetroot)
4. Mouthwashes – (those which contain chlorhexidine)
5. Antibiotics – Erythromycin, Amoxicillin, Tetracycline stains teeth when used during the
development of adult teeth
6. Iron supplements
7. Fluorosis stains (ingestion of too much fluoride in water, toothpaste or fluoride tablets)
8. There maybe unsuspected decay that appears like stains
9. Darkened white fillings or crowns
10. Natural ageing process
11. Some people are just born with darker teeth
12. Excessive grinding
You can maintain the colour of your teeth by using bleaching toothpastes to help avoid teeth staining. If you are looking for a brighter smile, consider safe professional teeth bleaching treatments. Definitely avoid using domestic bleach or any acid containing products to whiten your teeth. Have regular professional tooth cleaning by a dental hygienist.
Can I lighten the colour of my teeth?
Teeth bleaching can be a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without damaging their structure. bleaching toothpastes may improve the colour by removing only the surface stains on the teeth, but this lightening is only temporary.
How does Teeth bleaching work?
Professional Teeth bleaching is an extremely versatile way of making your natural teeth look brighter without causing them any harm. It can be carried out in a number of ways depending on the nature and intensity of discolouration. The 'active ingredient' in the gel (what makes it work) is usually hydrogen peroxide. As it is broken down, oxygen gets inside the enamel of the teeth and dissolves the discoloured pigments, thereby, making the teeth look lighter overall.
What are the Teeth bleaching options available?
At the London Smile Clinic there are 2 options for Teeth bleaching to suit your requirements and lifestyle.
Option 2: Professional Home Teeth bleaching
The best part about this type of teeth bleaching is that you are in control and it is tailor-made to suit your daily routine or lifestyle. For example, if you find it difficult to wear the trays overnight, then daytime gels are available which are used for only 45 minutes, once a day. If you are not happy to wear the trays during the daytime for any reason, then you can have the night time gel available, which has to be used overnight for a minimum of 5-6 hours.
The procedure involves making tailor-made soft and comfortable 'bleaching trays' that are user-friendly. They fit snugly over your teeth. A very small amount (dot-sized) of bleaching gel is placed inside the trays.
We always recommend that you come back to the practice after a few days of wearing your bleaching trays. This ensures that your bleaching is progressing well and that there is no sensitivity. When you come back for this appointment we will check to see how white your teeth have become compared to when you started.
This home teeth bleaching may take up to 4 weeks or so. Most people are amazed at their new brighter smile.
How long does the procedure take and what will I experience during the procedure?
The Britesmile in-clinic procedure can take anything from 60- 90 minutes depending on the severity of discolouration. You may wish to just sit, relax and have a short nap or choose and watch a movie from our vast collection while we look after you! Laser bleaching can improve the colour of your teeth by 7-8 shades.
How long should I wear the home treatment trays for?
This depends on the amount of lightening that you desire and the original colour of your teeth. If your teeth are quite dark or very yellow / grey / tetracycline stained it will take longer to lighten the teeth. The length of time you wear the trays for at each sitting will depend on the product concentration of bleaching gel we recommend to you.
Some products require only overnight wear while others require daytime wear. When using the trays with bleaching agent for half an hour or one hour twice daily, please make sure there’s a time interval of at least two hours in between the two sessions.
In general, the darker your teeth, the longer it takes to lighten them. Tetracycline stained teeth can take 6 months or up to one year to lighten.
It is important for you to know that different techniques will suit different types of discolouration and that there is no hard and fast rule for how long it would take for teeth to lighten with a technique. We invite you to discuss your bleaching treatment options with us.
How safe is Teeth bleaching?
It is not true that Teeth bleaching damages teeth. It is also not true that yellow teeth are healthier than whiter teeth. Teeth bleaching is a non-invasive and safe procedure causing no harm to the dental health or otherwise overall health of an individual.
The only people that we recommend avoid using bleaching chemicals are pregnant and breastfeeding women, those individuals with known allergies or children under 16 years of age.
The most common after effects could be teeth sensitivity or a blister/laser burn, both of which are very temporary.
Rarely, existing hidden dental abscesses may become active as a result of bleaching gel penetrating the tooth surface.
What do I do if I have any sensitivity?
Many people have naturally sensitive teeth anyway. Sensitivity of teeth is the most common side effect of teeth bleaching on those teeth surfaces where enamel is absent or is very thin. It often occurs around the necks of the teeth where the gum may be receded. If you are experiencing sensitivity, you should stop bleaching and obtain support. Based upon our experience, we can suggest some tips that you will find effective in minimising teeth sensitivity. If you are at all concerned, please seek professional advice.
What happens if the teeth do not whiten evenly?
During the first few days of bleaching, you may notice new white spots forming on your teeth. Do not worry. These white spots were originally present on your teeth but were not visible to the naked eye. As the teeth start to become lighter they become more visible because these white spots are also bleaching.
As the whole tooth becomes lighter these spots fade and so become less noticeable. Sometimes the dentist can do a special procedure called Microabrasion where the white spots can be more permanently removed. Ask us about the procedure if you are concerned about this.
Some people’s teeth may appear banded with lighter / whiter areas. Again these bands were originally present on the teeth. As the teeth become lighter, the lighter parts of the teeth will lighten first followed by the darker banded area. After a week or so these will not be noticeable anymore.
How will my teeth feel?
Normally the teeth feel very smooth and clean after the bleaching procedure. The bleaching materials also have an indirect effect on the gums in helping them to heal or improving their health. Amazingly, this is how the technique was invented as it was first used to heal gum irritation during orthodontic treatment.
What about my existing crowns?
If you have pre-existing white fillings (or crowns) on your front teeth that match the existing shade of your teeth, then it is very likely that they may not match the teeth afterwards. This is because your teeth can lighten, but the fillings (and crowns) do not lighten. When the desired colour has been achieved, we can replace these fillings with a lighter shade of filling material to match the new shade of your teeth. Normally we would wait two weeks before renewing the fillings.
How long does the bleaching last? Will I have to whiten my teeth again?
Normally the new white colour of your teeth holds quite well. However, depending on what caused the teeth to discolour in the first place will dictate the treatment’s prognosis. If you drink lots of black coffee, red wine, cola drinks or have curries regularly then the teeth may discolour again. In this situation some people prefer to do a top-up treatment as and when required. If you practice good oral hygiene and brush normally, especially after consuming foods that stain teeth then the results could last for years.
Does bleaching harm the teeth or gums?
Safety studies have shown that Teeth bleaching, under the supervision of an experienced dentist using the right products, is perfectly safe on the teeth, cheeks, gums and other tissues of the mouth. Problems have been reported with the bleaching kits that are purchased over the counter and other non licensed teeth bleaching providers such as hairdressers and nail clinics. Although they are inexpensive, some contain an acid rinse, which can damage the teeth or thin down the enamel of the teeth. This acid rinse can be extremely harmful to the teeth.
There was a case where someone purchased a kit over the counter and whitened their teeth. The teeth went darker and so they continued using the treatment. This was because the acid rinse had worn the enamel away and the darker shade was the inner dentine that was now exposed. If you smoke, it is not advisable to whiten your teeth. It is best to stop smoking for at least 3 weeks before commencing the bleaching procedure. Smoking causes the teeth to darken anyway and the effects will be diminished.
The technique of bleaching teeth is not for everybody. There are some situations where bleaching teeth is contra-indicated such as where the front teeth are already crowned or veneered or where there are very large fillings on the front teeth or where the teeth are already excessively worn and there is loss of tooth surface. 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.
Some useful and safety tips:
1. Do not use household bleach to whiten your teeth.
2. This technique is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.
3. Keep home-use gel out of heat/sunlight. Keep it refrigerated. Do not freeze.
4. Tooth coloured fillings and crowns do not respond to teeth bleaching.
5. Avoid any foods that could stain during the bleaching process. Anything that could stain a white tshirt
could also stain recently whitened teeth so stick to a white or clear diet to 24-48 hours after.
6. If you have questions about any aspects of this treatment, please seek professional advice.
7. Do not use tobacco products or eat/drink while bleaching.