Teeth Whitening in London & UK

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As you get older your teeth will often be prone to tooth staining or discolouration. Tooth whitening is a fantastic dental innovation which can help to restore the natural whiteness of your teeth without the need for restorations. Whitening can refer to both the bleaching of teeth and the restoration of a tooth's colour by scouring away food debris, dental plaque or tartar.

Causes of Tooth Stains & Discolouration

Over time, a pellicle film slowly forms on top of your tooth enamel through eating and drinking. If left untreated this can lead to stains and certain types of food and drink like coffee, red wine and tea can increase the rate of staining. As well as having a huge impact on your oral health, the nicotine from cigarette smoke can often leave brown deposits which will eventually form stains. Similarly, 'smokeless' products like chewing tobacco can also cause a variety of oral health problems, including stains. Several types of chemicals and drugs such as tetracycline or an excess of fluoride, if ingested during tooth formation, can also cause stains which are very hard to remove.

There is also a relationship with age and tooth colour, with many people developing a yellow tinge to their teeth in later life. Research has shown whitening is more effective the earlier in life it is used with teens achieving dramatic results from only a single whitening session whilst those over twenty may require multiple sessions. By the age of fifty, many patients have had a range of stains absorbed by their teeth which, although difficult, can be removed through whitening treatments. Every person’s teeth start off life with a slightly different colour, ranging from teeth with a yellow or brown tint to a green or gray. This tone tends to become more pronounced as you age and some colours such as yellow-brown are usually much more receptive to whitening than other tints. Similarly, there are several genetic traits which have a tendency to intensify as you age. Although all your teeth will exhibit some translucency, the thicker and more opaque teeth will generally appear lighter in colour and be more receptive to bleaching. Trauma or damage to your teeth occurring whether due to a dental condition or because of an injury, can often produce large cracks in your teeth. These are especially vulnerable to collecting large amount of food debris and prone to staining.

Procedure for Whitening Teeth

The most popular kind of tooth whitening is performed by your dentist and involves bleaching your teeth. Your dentist applies certain chemicals which are able to penetrate your enamel and dissolve the stains through a chemical reaction. The most common chemicals used are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Your dentist will paste the compound onto your teeth and leave it there for a number of minutes before rinsing. The procedure may need to be repeated several times but sometimes, noticeable results can be seen after only one procedure.

Types of Teeth Whitening

Many clinics offer custom-made whitening kits for you to use at home. Through regular usage, this type of kit can produce great results, particularly when used alongside whitening treatments performed by your dentist. Home whitening kits commonly use a low concentration of peroxide gel which is left on your teeth for a set amount of time. The gel is applied through a tray which fits around your teeth and is similar to a gum shield in appearance. You can also purchase over-the-counter whitening kits which have become increasingly popular due to their ease of use. This type of kit contains a one-size-fits-all tray and a low concentration gel. However, due to the extremely low concentration of the gel, this method often takes longer.

Branded Whitening Products

  • Zoom! Whitening - A quick and efficient whitening product specially designed to be used alongside the Zoom! laser. The Zoom! Whitening process takes around 45 minutes and you should be able to notice improvements straight away.
  • Englighten Whitening - An in-office whitening treatment designed to lighten your tooth colour through use of hydrogen peroxide gel in the clinic and a follow up treatment of carbamide peroxide gel at home.
  • Whitening Toothpastes - toothpastes made up of chemicals and powerful abrasives which can be used to remove stains on the upper layers of your teeth.

Risks involved with Whitening Teeth

Although the vast majority of tooth whitening procedures are performed safely, there are some problems which can occur. Some patients report an increased sensitivity to hot or cold following the treatment. For most people this is temporary however it can last longer in some cases. It is possible for your gums to be irritated by the peroxide gel, fortunately, this is usually temporary and there are a number of easy ways to counter the irritation. If you have had tooth fillings at some point, these will not be affected by the chemicals used in bleaching, which may result in uneven whitening.

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Guide to Teeth Whitening in London & UK