Teeth whitening - a before/after example

The colour of our teeth is determined by our genes and our age. As we get older our teeth naturally become more yellow – our lifestyle can also cause teeth to be stained. For example – drinking tea or coffee, eating some foods and smoking all cause staining. If you are thinking of whitening your teeth, please see the following information to help you make an informed decision.

What is teeth whitening and how does the treatment work?

Teeth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove staining and discolouration. Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments because it can greatly improve your smile.  Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them a lighter shade. It can lighten the existing colour by several shades but it is unlikely to make them brilliant white. At Thames Street Dental we offer home bleaching kits. This involves taking a set of impressions of the teeth to make custom fit bleaching trays.  Our dentists will then show you how to use the teeth whitening bleaching kit in the comfort of your home, at your own leisure. One of the benefits of using a home bleaching kit is that you can top up your whitening treatments whenever you wish as long as you have your trays and enough bleach.

Note: It is important your teeth and gums are healthy before teeth whitening is carried out hence we do advise a through dental examination is carried out first.

Do whitening toothpastes work?

There are many toothpastes on the market which claim to help whiten your teeth. Whilst these toothpastes may help remove some light surface stains, whitening toothpastes do not contain the same ingredients as the products we use for teeth whitening, and so do not result in the same outcome. The concentration of bleach required to safely and effectively whiten teeth cannot be found in a toothpaste.

Who can perform teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a dental procedure and should only be performed by a qualified Dentist or another regulated dental professional. An incorrect concentration of beaching gel could cause harm hence why it should only be prescribed by a Dentist. Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening – this is illegal if there is no qualified dental professional present, and it may put your oral health at risk.

Is teeth whitening permanent?

A single treatment of teeth whitening will not keep your teeth that shade forever – Your eating, drinking and smoking habits can cause the teeth to discolour again. For this reason, we advise all patients that the whitening effect may last up to one year. However, it is easy and cost-effective to repeat the treatment. If you wish to have your teeth whitened again, you do not need to pay the full price again – Simply come back to Thames Street Dental and purchase additional bleach – You can use your existing trays, so maintenance of teeth whitening is very cost-effective!

Will my fillings, crowns or veneers change colour?

It is important to know that your existing dental restorations will not change colour. If you have any fillings, crowns or veneers on your front teeth you may wish to have them replaced to match your new shade after the whitening treatment has been completed. This can be discussed further with the Dentist during your consultation appointment.

What are the risks of teeth whitening?

There is a small risk of teeth sensitivity and gum irritation if the whitening is not completed correctly. We will spend enough time to educate you well on how to carry out whitening to ensure that the risk of sensitivity or gum irritation is minimal. If you do experience sensitivity, please do let us know and we can prescribe a desensitising toothpaste if necessary.