Tooth whitening has become increasingly popular in recent year and involves a process of gradually lightening and brightening your smile.
As you grow older your teeth will naturally change colour for a number of reasons including a change due a change in the mineral structure and stains caused by fizzy drinks, tea, coffee, wine or other pigmented foodstuff and tobacco.
Luckily there is a simple remedy available and with the correct consultation you can rediscover your gleaming white teeth again. Professional tooth whitening is one of the simpliest, effective, predictable and cost effective methods of improving your smile.
We feel it is important to add at this point that it is safe and legal to have your teeth whitened by a dentist or under direct superivision of a dentist however it is illegal and ungoverned to have your whitening carried out by a beautician, at a wedding fair or in a shopping centre. Use of the incorrect products may lead to irreversible harm to your teeth or gums so we would urge you to only have the treatment done under the supervision of a dentist.
Suitable candidates include :-
1. Anybody who feels their teeth have become more yellow/stained
2. People who smoke and feel their teeth have become brown as a result
3. People who have teeth have developed with unusual colours
4. People who have staining which may have come about because of childhood illness or medication.
We think of teeth as being solid structures. They are however permeable and because of this, the tiny holes allow passage of food, drinks and medicines into the tooth substance. Fortunately, this also means that the whitening gel can also pass into the tooth and thus bleach out the stains.
The Science behind bleaching :-
Only Hydrogen Peroxide can safely lighten your teeth. If it is formulated correctly and used in the right concentration it is very effective and safe.
Hydrogen Peroxide does breakdown rapidly (in around 1 hour) into inactive by-products and once this happens it is completely ineffective. At Eilertsen Dental care we use Hydrogen Peroxide during the In chair bleaching process because we are continually taking the product off and replacing it.
For the take home kits, dental companies have manufactured products with another agent called Carbamide Peroxide because this produces active Hydrogen peroxide for 6-8 hours.
The British Dental Bleaching Society recommend use of 10% Carbamide Peroxide which gives a sustained release of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide. They have deemed this the most effective concentration.
How do we do it?
In essence, the whitening gel needs to be in contact with the tooth substance. It doesnt matter if it is only in contact with one small area the tooth, it will infiltrate through the whole tooth, much like the corner of a sugar cube being immersed in red wine. The longer the tooth is in contact with the whitening gel, the quicker it will lighten. At Eilertsen Dental care we use a combination of in surgery immediate whitening and take home kits. The two processes are described below :-
1. In surgery whitening/power bleaching – This process uses the latest LED/laser technology and it is great if you have an important engagement coming up and want that quick fix or if you have very heavily stained teeth which might otherwise take a long time to lighten. The process will take around 2 hours and is a great way to accelerate the whitening process. We give you a home kit aswell in order to stabalise the shade of your teeth with when you leave.
2. Take home whitening – We have our onsite dental laboratory make you speciliased trays which fit your mouth perfectly. We will explain how to use the gel safely at home and if there are any special instructions for your case.
A bleached tooth will always be lighter than an unbleached tooth however if your diet contains drinks and foodstuffs which do cause staining you may wish to top up your whitening in 6 months to a year. We will advise you on the best way to look after your trays so you can re-use them when it suits.
Word of warning :
The tooth whitening gel only affects tooth substance and so does not change the colour of old crowns, bridges or fillings. If you would like to make your whole smile brighter it is relatively simple to replace the old restorations to match your newly bright smile once you have completed your bleaching. We will always take each case into consideration and explain all your options in full before we begin.
The only known side effect of whitening is sensitivity. Dental Companies are continually trying to update their products by adding new desensitzers. If you are prone to sensitvity then it is possible that you experience this. However there are other products we can reccomend and are supplied in our Smile Care shop which will vastly improve your symptoms. You must also remember that the sensitivity is only temporary.
Changes in Tooth Whitening Legislation
As a result of the recent amendment and adoption of that change to the Cosmetics Directive there are now some clear guidelines regarding tooth whitening in the UK. The understanding now of the new position as a result of council Directive 2011/84/EU amending Directive 76/768.EEC is there some some fundamental clear changes.
1. Products sold for the purpose of tooth whitening will be legal again in the UK but only up to 6% Hydrogen Peroxide. (Equivalent to approx. 18% Carbamide Peroxide)
2. For each “cycle” of use, the first use has to be administered by dental practitioners or under their direct supervision if an equivalent level of safety is ensured.
3. These products are not to be used on persons under the age of 18.
4. These products are only to be sold to dental practitioners.
- We are professionally trained to carry out these procedures in an effective and safe manner.
- We have best access to the evidence base behind why certain products are the gold standard.
- We have an onsite lab which make trays specfically to your requirements and are on hand to make any adjustments which may be needed.
- We will provide detailed instruction and demonstration on how to use and look after your trays.
- We can discuss and future requirements and advice on top up treatments.
- We can help you manage any sensitivity if you experience it.
- We can give you integrated treatment plans if you also have multiple old restorations which you want changed having had your other teeth lightened.