Tooth whitening is a treatment fast gaining popularity and has seen many advances in the products and methods now being used. Never before has a brighter smile been so easily achieved. As with any dental procedure, whitening is best left to the professionals, though whichever route you go down it is worth knowing as much as possible.
What is it?
Tooth whitening is exactly what its name suggests. It is a cosmetic dental treatment that safely and effectively lightens the natural colour of teeth, without removing any of their surfaces. It can be used throughout the whole mouth, or applied to single teeth.
Why do people use it?
While some people have naturally yellowish teeth, many of us lose our whiteness to stains from certain foods, drinks and medications, as well as smoking and a build up of tartar. Over time, these stains can become too stubborn to be removed simply by brushing or having the teeth cleaned professionally. Dead teeth sometimes go discoloured after a root canal or filling too. Not everyone’s teeth are suitable for whitening so it is important to go to your dentist for an assessment.
How does it work?
Almost all whitening procedures involve professional bleaching. In all instances the gums are protected with a special shield or gel. A chemical is then applied to the teeth using a specially made tray. The active ingredient is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. As this is broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth thus lightening their colour.
A newer method is called ‘power whitening’, which uses a laser to speed up the lightening process.
How long does it last?
The effects of professionally whitened teeth can last for up to 3 years. Though this of course depends on the person having avoided things that cause discolouration, as well as taking good care of their teeth and gums. Home whitening kits tend to contain less intensive whitening agents and so will be less effective than a professional treatment.
If you are interested in having your teeth whitening, the best thing to do is book in for a consultation with your dentist. Smilepad offers a range of whitening treatments, all of which can be discussed following a thorough assessment.