Understanding tooth whitening
Our teeth and smiles are rated one of the most attractive features, and over the past few years the UK have followed American trends to get cosmetic treatments to achieve that perfect ‘Hollywood smile’.
In 2015, BBC News reported that just “3% of people in the UK have had teeth-whitening work, lagging behind the 14% in the US”. Now, cosmetic dentists have seen a 22% rise in turnover, indicating that the UK are now following suit of our US neighbours and are spending more on cosmetic dentistry including teeth-whitening.
But what is tooth whitening, and what results can you expect? We have all the expert knowledge for you right here.
What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening or bleaching is an effective method in removing stains and reducing discoloration of teeth. This discoloration is caused by certain foods and drink such as tea or coffee, as well smoking, which can have an effect on your teeth’s appearance.
The British Dental Association states that “only registered dentists may carry out teeth whitening in the UK”, so make sure you consult a dental professional to begin your treatment.
There are many different treatments available for teeth whitening, such as chemical whitening and abrasive brightening which are used to remove stains from the tooth’s surface. This type of whitening is often found in toothpastes, although too much abrasion can destroy your tooth’s enamel.
Other treatments include gel bleaching, both in surgery and at home. We offer these options and we’ll help you choose the best method for you.
The quickest method of tooth whitening we offer is the ‘Zoom’ in-surgery whitening. It’s an instant solution for whitening teeth which uses stronger bleaching chemicals than other methods. By activating the chemicals by a light in our surgery, we can guarantee a whiter smile in roughly an hour.
Zoom whitening is fast, with good results, but isn’t as long-lasting as other treatments.
Home whitening may take longer to produce results, but it is just as effective as Zoom. If you opt for an at-home treatment, we will take an impression of your teeth to make a mouthguard and will instruct you how to use it with a bleaching gel.
Then, using your mouthguard at home, you regularly apply the gel for a specified period of time over 14 to 20 applications. Whitening is gradual and gentle and use it until you get your desired shade. Some whitening gels can be left on for up to eight hours at a time, which shortens the treatment period to one week.
Enlighten whitening is a mix of both Zoom, and at home treatments. We use a two-stage whitening system, starting with home whitening treatment followed by a deep bleach in our surgery. If you’re after much whiter teeth, then this may be the option for you.
Before having the procedure, you will need to book an initial consultation to assess your suitability, and we recommend that you see your dental hygienist 2 weeks before treatment for the best results.
The risks of home whitening kits
Some home kits that are not provided by dentists don't contain enough of the whitening product to be effective. More generally, if a dental professional is not doing the whitening, the mouthguard provided may not fit properly so some of the bleaching gel may leak out onto your gums and into your mouth. This may cause blistering and sensitivity, and if swallowed can cause more problems.
If you opt for teeth whitening carried out in beauty salons by staff without any training or dental qualifications, you could be at risk as this is illegal and these procedures can carry risks to your oral health.
If you’re interested in cosmetic whitening, contact us for more information on treatments, and we’ll be happy to help.