6th June 2013
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Teeth whitening works to different degrees, mostly determined by what has caused the discolouration in the first place. It is vital that before whitening a patient should visit their dentist to check if the procedure is appropriate for them and to rule out underlying dental problems that may need prior treatment, such as infections and traumatic injury. Most patients request treatment because their teeth are no longer as bright as they used to be. Over time stains from foodstuffs, in particular, tea, coffee and red wine can become absorbed onto the surface of the tooth and make the teeth appear yellower; despite them being clean, they look dirty. Such staining responds very well to whitening treatments. Usually the colour of the teeth should match the white of the eyes. Other patients may have discolouration caused by antibiotics taken when they were very young. (Tetracyline staining). This is usually a grey / yellow staining with horizontal lines and bands in the teeth. It does improve with whitening treatments, but it will take longer and immediately after the whitening the varying bands of colour can be more noticeable, but they blend in with time. These patients may need porcelain veneers to fit over the teeth and give a permanent improvement in colour, however it is usually recommended to have whitening before the veneers so that the porcelain does not have to be too thick in order to mask the colour underneath. At Waterside Dental Care one patient of mine embarked on this treatment but was so pleased with the improvement with just whitening alone that she has deferred further treatment. There are two ways of having treatment; the slow and steady home whitening treatment and the Inn surgery treatment, where stronger gel is professionally applied to the teeth and results in a quicker result. Usually close fitting bespoke trays are also constructed for each patient and provided with the In-surgery treatments so the new whiter colour can be maintained. Tooth sensitivity is the most common after- effect, and consists of quick “zinging” discomfort in certain teeth but usually lasts at most for 24 hours. The new formulations of whitening gel have desensitising agents incorporated and the dental practice will give advice on how to manage any sensitivity. Unless a patient changes their diet to avoid coloured foodstuffs, in time the new colour will gradually fade and need retreating. The length of time it lasts depends on the lifestyle of the patient and how white they wish their teeth to be. The treatment is usually suitable for all ages, we have treated patients who are still in their teens and had discolouration caused by orthodontic treatment, to those in their eighties. It is illegal for non-dental professionals to offer tooth whitening – and with good reason. They are unable to diagnose the cause of the discolouration and have been found to use inferior materials, offer sourced off the internet, and containing chemicals that damage the surface of the teeth and often result in the teeth being darker and very sensitive. Beauty clinics and stands in shopping malls offering the treatments should be reported to the General Dental Council and Trading Standards to protect the public from the damage they can cause. Please see Waterside Dental Care for offers on teeth whitening

About the Author

Deborah B

Member since: 23rd February 2013

Local girl, loves Rochdale and the people here.

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