Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening can sometimes be achieved using “Tooth Whitening Toothpaste” but a more reliable way is by bleaching your teeth.

Bleaching is a way of altering the appearance of teeth by using chemicals to lighten discoloured tooth structure. The main advantage of bleaching is that it avoids the need for the destructive preparation of teeth that would be required if using veneers or crowns.

Bleaching lightens the existing shade of the teeth. The exact shade at the end of treatment is difficult to predict. Bleaching tends to be most effective at reducing yellow discolouration. Brown discolouration will take longer to lighten and grey discolouration may be resistant to bleaching.

It is important to bear in mind the following points:

  • Tooth coloured restorations (fillings, veneers, and crowns) will not change colour and may look too dark once the teeth have been bleached.
  • The necks of the teeth (the bit nearest the gum line) will take longer to bleach.
  • The colour improvement achieved will fade a little with time. Avoiding smoking, tea, coffee and red wine drinking will help to reduce the rate at which further discolouration occurs. Occasional top up bleaching may be necessary.

We recommend the “Night-guard bleaching” technique. It is a well-accepted technique for tooth whitening and is very safe if done carefully under the guidance and supervision of your dentist.

The dentist makes trays from impressions made of your teeth. The trays are shaped to hold bleaching gel very precisely against the teeth needing treatment without touching the gums.

The bleaching gel contains carbamide peroxide, which releases hydrogen peroxide. A small amount of gel is placed in the bleaching trays, which are then worn overnight. The time taken for treatment depends on the colour of the teeth being treated but is typically two to three weeks.

Before bleaching - tooth shade matches the shade guide

Before bleaching – tooth shade matches the shade guide

After night guard bleaching - tooth shade noticeably lighter than the shade guide

After night guard bleaching – tooth shade noticeably lighter than the shade guide

Bleaching can cause soreness of your gums and sensitivity of your teeth to hot and cold. For these reasons it is important to have your teeth checked regularly by your dentist whilst undergoing bleaching treatment.