This involves wearing a custom-made tray containing whitening gel, for up to 12 applications. There are options available for day or night applications at home depending on your level of sensitivity and preferences. During your appointments, the shade of your teeth will be recorded. As the shade will change gradually over the treatment, you can decide to stop treatment whenever you feel your teeth are bright enough.
Your dentist will take impressions and make custom whitening trays which fit snugly over your teeth. High quality trays are crucial to getting a good result.
The first application is applied in surgery. We can show you how to load the gel into the trays and check the solution is suitable for your teeth and gums prior to starting treatment.
This depends on the amount of lightening that you desire and the original shade of your teeth. It is very difficult if not impossible to accurately predict the outcome of bleaching a person’s teeth.
If your teeth are relatively light to start with, the process will generally take a matter of a few weeks. Most teeth will do well after 12 sessions.
Alternatively, if your teeth are quite dark or very yellow/grey or tetracycline stained it will take longer to bleach the teeth. The darker your teeth, the longer your teeth will take to get lighter. Severely tetracycline stained teeth, in extreme cases, can take 6 months or even up to one year to bleach.
Younger teeth are easier to bleach due to greater porosity. The lighter the stain, the better the response.
Fillings and crowns/bridges will not change colour with whitening and may need replacement to improve the overall appearance. Cosmetic restorations should not be replaced until at least 2 weeks after completion of treatment as the bonding process is less effective prior to this.
Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing.
Tooth sensitivity is the most common side effect of home bleaching. If you are experiencing more than a little sensitivity you should stop bleaching for a few days.
Start using a de-sensitizing toothpaste for about a week before you begin whitening. Continue to use this during the treatment and for about a week afterwards.
Don’t worry, you can still do some whitening! You will have to put in a little more work to keep the levels of sensitivity manageable during the treatment, but it’s certainly possible.
Mention your sensitivity to your dentist, pointing out any individual teeth which are a particular problem.
Start using a de-sensitizing toothpaste if you don’t already do so.
For one week prior to using the whitening gel, fill your whitening trays with Tooth Mousse (made by GC) and wear for 15-30 minutes each day. This product is made from milk proteins which can help repair areas of damaged tooth structure and reduce sensitivity.
When you begin the whitening process, wear the trays with Tooth Mousse for up to 30 minutes immediately prior to each whitening session.
Once you have finished whitening your teeth, continue using Tooth Mousse daily for a week.
If the teeth have white spots on them before bleaching, these spots will appear whiter during the first few days. However, the contrast between the spots and the rest of the tooth will gradually lessen over the course of the treatment and eventually will not be noticeable.
Normally the new whiter colour of your teeth keeps for several years. This will be influenced by what you eat, drink and smoke. Some patients need a top up after 3-4 years.
The following are especially damaging:
You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and staining.
We recommend the following tips to take care of your teeth:
Professional tooth whitening is very safe and highly successful; however illegal, unregulated tooth whitening continues to be a problem in the UK. Only dentists and other suitably qualified healthcare professionals are legally allowed to prescribe tooth whitening gels and it is illegal to provide these gels to patients under 18 years of age (except in some exceptional circumstances). Unregulated tooth whitening is dangerous, whether it is found online or on the high street, your health could be put at risk by using the wrong products or by using them incorrectly. By going to a dentist for tooth whitening, you can be confident that you are receiving the correct materials in safe but effective concentrations, and that if you do experience any unexpected problems you can seek professional help and advice.
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