Teeth Whitening – but which method to choose? Tips from Epsom Dental Centre @edcchigamin #loveyoursmile
21st July 2014
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Teeth Whitening

Which method is right for you?

What Kinds of Treatment are Available?

For those of us with discoloured teeth, whether from age, illness, or lifestyle factors, such as drinking red wine, black coffee, or smoking, teeth whitening can make us feel more confident and ready to smile again.

Professional bleaching is the most common method of teeth whitening. Your dentist can assess your teeth to see whether teeth whitening is suitable for you. You can then discuss the different teeth whitening options.

Teeth Whitening at Home

Most people opt for dentist supervised home whitening. This normally involves up to four visits to the dentist to have a custom-made mouth guard fitted. These mouth guards are trays, which fit into the mouth like gum shields. Whitening gel is put into the trays, and you will be given a routine to follow at home. The whole process normally takes two weeks of two hour home sessions, but it can vary, and you can continue until your teeth are the shade of white that you desire.

Chair-Side Teeth Whitening

Another option is chair-side whitening. If your dentist thinks you are a suitable candidate for chair-side whitening, then a dental professional will shield your gums with a rubber fitting or a gel. Then they will apply the whitening product, also using a specially made tray.

Chair-Side “Power” Teeth Whitening

Chair-side “power” whitening  is sometimes marketed as laser whitening, though in reality no lasers are involved. Similarly to chair-side whitening, first a soft material is fitted to shield your gums from damage. Next, a whitening gel is painted onto your teeth, and a light is used to speed up the process.

The active ingredient in the professional bleaching process is normally either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals can be dangerous if handled improperly, especially for the gums and mouth, so it is important that you always visit a qualified dentist if you are considering teeth whitening.

What Other Treatments are There?

You can freshen up your smile without chemically changing the colour of your teeth, if you prefer. Air abrasion quickly removes many of the surface stains on your teeth, in just one short session. There are also many teeth whitening toothpastes on the market, which work by fighting stains. While they won’t change the colour of your teeth, they can slowly combat stains, and have a minor effect on your smile.

Whichever Treatment you Choose - Visit a Licensed Dentist!

There are a wide range of different teeth whitening treatments available, but only those carried out by a dentist are legal in the UK.  Beauticians that offer teeth-whitening services are doing so illegally, unless they have a trained dentist present. This is to protect consumers from damaged teeth, gums, or mouths as a result of unprofessional service. Incorrect doses of peroxide, or cheap, unregulated medicines, can have disastrous side-effects. To find out if a dental professional is registered with the General Dental Council (GDC) you can check online or call 0845 222 4141.

While home kits that are available over the counter or over the internet may be cheaper than visiting a dentist, they they can also carry real risks. Kits sold in Europe cannot legally contain more than 0.01% peroxide, which is too little to effectively change the colour of teeth, or do any harm. However, kits purchased over the internet may originate from countries where regulations are looser, and these unassessed kits may contain acids and abrasives which are damaging to teeth.

Teeth whitening is a complicated procedure, which is best carried out by a trained medical professional. In upsetting cases, home kits can leak bleaching gels onto gums and into the mouth with severe side-effects.

Epsom Dental Centre has a team of professional dentists who know how to safely provide excellent teeth whitening treatments. If you are considering teeth whitening, we would be happy to help.

About the Author

Nigel & Maggie

Member since: 10th July 2012

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