Tooth Whitening

The truth about tooth whitening!!

Our teeth are like sponges and their surfaces absorb stains daily when we eat and drink daily coloured foods and drinks. Examples include tea, coffee, red wine and dark sauces like gravy and bolognaise.

Extrinsic stains build up on the surface layers of our teeth and can be easily cleaned away by our friendly hygienist. Intrinsic stains however, which are stains in the deeper layers of our teeth need stronger stuff and this is where tooth whitening procedures come into play. This involves use a a chemical, hydrogen peroxide to essentially bleach the surface layers of our teeth.

What types are available?

There are two main ways to whiten you teeth- “In house” and “take home“ and they are both equally effective. The in-house procedure is carried out by our hygienist and there is a major improvement immediately, however, it is best to reinforce this with some take home wear to ensure the teeth stay white. Take home whitening involves wearing whitening trays with whitening gel inside for a number of hours every day in accordance with the manufacturers instructions. These trays are custom made tooth whitening trays which ensure an even consistent coverage of tooth whitening gel on each tooth.

Is it safe?

Yes!! …….when teeth are whitened by a professional dentist or hygienist who will use a safe and effective product. As dental care professionals we are regulated by a European Council directive(2012) who have placed very strict guidelines on the level of peroxide used in whitening systems. The products we use are really safe and there are ill-effects. There is often transient sensitivity associated with tooth whitening and this is due to temporary dehydration of Dental Enamel with reduces the ability to insulate the nerve from changes in temperature. This only lasts 12-36 hours.