Teeth Whitening all about it

27th March 2018 by John Picton

Tooth Whitening how Your Dentist Can Improve Your Smile

It’s amazing to what lengths people will go to in order to improve appearance, whether the products used are safe or not. Fortunately, we live in a country where our health and well being is not only our concern but there is a collective interest too. One of the more recent concerns has been the uncontrolled use of teeth whitening products that if used liberally could damage one’s internal health.

The Council of the European Union has earmarked the level of hydrogen peroxide used both by dentists and in over the counter products available to just about anyone after advice supplied by The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. Since 2013 tooth whitening which contains up to 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide is still freely available, but if the concentrations exceed 0.1% up to 6 % it can only be used or provided by a dentist.

What does tooth whitening do?

Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps in the removal of unsightly discolouration. This can be performed with take home kits provided by your dentist or the whitening can be completed in the dental surgery. Repeated whitening sessions are often required to keep your teeth sparkling white. Your dentist knows how important nice white teeth are so the process is fun and delivers amazing results. No time will be wasted getting those teeth back to the colour they should be and your dentist will do a better job than you could ever do at home. If you are not patient and determined let your dentist do the job for you.

How does a tooth’s features affect its colour?

Enamel is the name given to a tooth’s outer most layer. Its colour is formed by a combination of the reflection and spreading out of light, along with the colour of the dentin beneath it. Thinner enamel lets more of the dentin’s colour show through. How smooth or rough the enamel is has an effect on the light’s reflection and its colour too.

There are two characteristics that can have an effect on tooth colour and one is when each day a thin layer called the pellicle rests on the enamel attracting stains and a second one is that pores on the tooth’s enamel can harbour stains. These stains aren’t arbitrarily formed but are as a result of your consumption habits such as the use of tobacco, coffee, tea, red wine and cola also the aging of teeth can have an effect.

As you age, you will notice that your teeth lose their youthful white colour as the enamel becomes thinner while the dentin takes on a darker appearance. The use of too much fluoride while young can stain the teeth on the inside as can the antibiotic tetracycline. There are certain things you can do to help to fix stains and that is monitoring your food and drink consumption to ensure you are not feeding the problem. Toothpaste, even the type that has been marketed as having a whitening effect, will not get rid of stains, as it is not powerful enough. Your dentist will explain the issues to you.

Tooth whitening can help to fix surface stains

Whitening techniques can’t do a lot for inner stains, or for any stains that have occurred on veneers or porcelain crowns, but it can improve the colour of the enamel, which is typically better than nothing.

Where does whitening take place?

Whitening can be performed in the dental surgery or at home. For in-office whitening your teeth will be photographed first so that you can compare the results after the whitening process has been completed.  The second stage is a thorough teeth clean that will eliminate any bacteria or food that has attached itself to your teeth.

Vital whitening is one of the whitening procedures and is used on teeth that still possess nerves while non vital whitening is completed on a tooth that has been through root canal treatment where the nerve has been removed.

Non-Vital Whitening 

As standard whitening cannot improve the appearance of a tooth that has been through root canal treatment because the stain is embedded inside the tooth so your dentist will put a whitening substance inside the tooth and protect it with a filling. The tooth will be left untouched for a few days

Vital Whitening 

This is the commonest tooth whitening procedure, where a gel-like solution is applied on to the tooth’s surface containing hydrogen peroxide. The dentist is the only person approved for using higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and he or she will use a special light as well which activates the gel allowing the bleaching process to accelerate. One session takes between 30 and 90 minutes and you will probably require up to three appointments. As the substance used by your dentist is quite strong, your gums will be protected before the cleaning process starts.

At home whitening

If you don’t wish to return for subsequent whitening sessions, your dentist will make an impression of each of your lower and upper teeth and will create custom mouthpieces that fit snugly so that the trays of gel provided are close enough to your teeth to have a whitening effect. To ensure effectiveness the substance will need to be applied for up to 3 weeks on a daily basis. Whitening products can also be purchased over the counter but the whitening agent is weaker than your dentist’s products meaning the whitening process may require a longer time.

If you are concerned about the colour of your teeth, arrange an appointment today and you will be on your way to refresh your smile that will help to build your self esteem amongst your family, work colleagues and friends.