Once the orthodontic or cosmetic dental treatment is complete, or even before if you wish, it's worth putting the finishing touch to your results by having your teeth whitened. Very few people have naturally white teeth and they become more discoloured with age. Teeth may also be stained on the surface through the consumption of coloured substances such as coffee, tea, cola, tobacco and red wine. Deeper staining can also occur due to the consumption during tooth formation of certain antibiotics and fluoride. More people than ever are now choosing to whiten their teeth.
If after your initial assessment we recommend a tooth whitening procedure, we will give you the choice between having a single visit with us or providing you with a kit to take home with you.
The single visit procedure takes about 90 minutes and is ideal if you wish to avoid the fuss of doing things yourself at home. This simple and painless procedure begins with a short preparation to isolate the lips and gums, followed by the application of a gel solution to the teeth which is then activated by a specially designed light. During this time, we will give you the choice of wearing DVD glasses or listening to music to help pass the time. The teeth are carefully rinsed at the end and we will give you post-treatment instructions. You leave the practice with teeth several shades lighter.
Alternatively you may prefer for your teeth to be whitened more conservatively. In this case, we will make you customised plastic bleaching trays, specifically designed to hold bleaching gel against just your teeth. You will then be asked to place a bleaching gel, carefully selected for you, in the trays and wear these intermittently for a few days to achieve the same results. This process is cheaper and also more controlled but obviously involves a commitment to actually wearing the trays. We will however monitor the effects during the treatment and advise you as necessary.
What to Expect
Extensive research and clinical studies have shown that tooth whitening under the supervision of a dentist is safe. In fact, it is much less invasive than alternative techniques and is considered by many dentists as the safest cosmetic dental procedure. The active ingredient, hydrogen peroxide, breaks down to release oxygen which enters enamel and dentine and bleaches coloured substances while the structure of the tooth remains unchanged.
For most patients, the procedure is completely non-eventful. Some patients experience some sensitivity to tingling sensations either during or after the procedure. These symptoms always dissipate within a day or two.