Teeth Whitening – All Your Questions Answered

Teeth Whitening

All Your Teeth Whitening Questions Answered

Information and advice to people considering teeth whitening, including how does teeth whitening work, what are the different types of teeth whitening and where to go
for whitening.

As Christmas gets near it’s common to begin wondering about how you might look in all of those Christmas photographs. If you have dark or yellow teeth you may be considering teeth whitening and it is for you that we have written this blog post.

We hope you find it useful, please let us know and share with your friends…

What is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is the process by which dark stains on your teeth are reduced by their oxidation caused by a reaction with a peroxide gel. In the UK, teeth whitening can only be performed by a registered dental professional.

How does teeth whitening work?

Teeth whitening works by keeping a gel containing either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide in contact with your teeth. Oxygen molecules within this gel then react with the stain molecules causing the discolouration,  the bonds that hold them together are broken down, this oxidation process means the discolouration disappears.

What is the procedure for home teeth whitening?

  1. Visit your dentist for an initial consultation.
  2. A dental impression is taken in order to make the close fitting bleaching trays.
  3. Once the trays have been manufactured they are checked for accurate fitting.
  4. You then fill the trays with the chosen peroxide gel.
  5. You wear the trays with the gel inside for approximately 2 hours per day for one week or until your desired whiter tooth colour is achieved.

What are the different types of teeth whitening?

There are essentially 4 types of teeth whitening.

  1. Tooth whitening toothpaste
  2. Home teeth whitening.
  3. In surgery teeth whitening.
  4. A combination of surgery and home teeth whitening.

Tooth whitening toothpaste can be used to make a very slight difference to the colour of your teeth. It will not, however, be able to lighten them to the same degree that professional teeth whitening can. Tooth whitening toothpaste is only able to remove surface stains from your teeth, whereas professional whitening, with the use of controlled peroxides, removes stains from deeper within your tooth structure.

The most common type of teeth whitening is home whitening, which is described above. This gives you full control, so if your teeth become sensitive during the process or you have reached your desired tooth colour, then you can stop the whitening process immediately. Surgery teeth whitening often involves the use of a high-powered activation lamp in order to possibly accelerate the process.

Why do teeth become sensitive during teeth whitening?

Firstly, not everyone experiences sensitivity during teeth whitening, but it is thought that as the oxidation process occurs that this can remove small plugs which fill the end of the dentinal tubules in your teeth. As these plugs are removed fluid can flow internally which in turn interacts with the pulp of your tooth and causes sensitivity.

Can a beautician perform teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening can only be carried out by a registered dental professional, this includes a registered dentist, hygienist, clinical dental technician or dental therapist. If the General Dental Council have enough evidence to show that someone not listed on the dental register has been carrying out teeth whitening then they may decide to bring about a criminal prosecution.

How to stay safe during the process

  • Always follow your dental professional’s advice exactly.
  • Only wear the bleaching trays for the period of time they were designed for.
  • Apply the bleaching gel carefully within the tray to avoid getting it onto your sensitive gum area.
  • Never be tempted to use other forms of peroxides (such as household bleach), they are not designed to be used in your mouth.
  • Do not drink anything hot whilst wearing the tray. The trays are made from a thermoplastic and may change shape if they get too hot.
  • Wash the gel out from inside the tray after each use, this keeps harmful bacteria at bay

How much does teeth whitening cost?

The cheapest form of teeth whitening is to use a teeth whitening toothpaste, these can be purchased for approximately £4 from any good high street pharmacy. Professional teeth whitening is available at our dental practice in Euston from £325.