Many individuals choose to have their teeth whitened when they want to remove slight stains and to make their teeth appear a lighter shade than their natural colour. The process does not remove any of the tooth’s surface and is generally painless. Below we explore the teeth whitening procedure, and how you can care for your teeth post treatment.
Teeth whitening – Before the procedure
Professional teeth whitening is also referred to as professional bleaching. If you wish to have your teeth whitened, then you will need to have a consultation appointment with your dentist. They should then be able to tell you if you are a suitable candidate for the procedure. If you are suitable, then an appointment will be booked for an impression of your teeth to be cast, so that a mouth guard can be made for the treatment.
Teeth whitening treatment
The procedure will begin with the dentist protecting your teeth with a gel or rubber shield. They will then apply the whitening product to a mouth guard that will then be inserted into your mouth. The whitening product will usually consist of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient that will lighten your teeth. One treatment usually takes around an hour, and you will need several treatments over three to four weeks for best results.
Aftercare following teeth whitening
Although the bleaching treatment can last up to three years, you still need to look after your teeth and watch what you eat. Foods and drink that should be avoided, or consumed moderately, are curry, tea, coffee, blackcurrant juice and red wine. Smoking regularly can also stain the teeth. It is advised that post treatment you brush your teeth at least three times a day, including last thing at night and using fluoride toothpaste. Visiting your dentist regularly for scale and polishes will also help.
Are there any side effects?
Bleaching teeth is an invasive treatment and some patients do complain of slight sensitivity to their teeth when consuming cold food and drinks after treatment. Some individuals may also have sore gums for a few hours post treatment, as well as a sore throat. Sometimes white lines can also appear on the gums, but these should fade within a few days. If any of these side effects persist for longer than a week, then ideally you should make a review appointment with your dentist.