What you need to know about Tooth Whitening
Tooth Whitening procedures have effectively restored the smile of many of our Ipswich patients living with stained, dull, or discolored teeth, or by the effects of aging or things like caffeine and tobacco.
Food particles are naturally attracted to a tooth’s enamel by a certain protein. Products like coffee and tea, berries and soy sauce are notorious for staining teeth. Over time, teeth actually become more absorbent and vulnerable to staining from food and other substances.
More and more of our patients in Ipswich are choosing tooth whitening procedures to reverse the effects of aging and abuse from food and tobacco stains. Some commercially available “whitening toothpastes” can be somewhat effective at removing stains and making teeth a few shades brighter. However, many of these products have abrasive substances that can actually wear away your tooth’s enamel.
Professional whitening techniques available from our Ipswich dental office are considered to be the most effective and safest method; done properly, tooth whitening can last as long as five years. Over-the-counter whitening systems are generally ineffective.
Many patients overlook the significant impact that their teeth make on their overall appearance. Almost anyone can benefit from tooth whitening. It is ideal for patients who have healthy, unrestored teeth and would like to have a whiter, brighter smile. Teeth discolour and yellow due to general ageing, smoking and dietary factors including– red wine, tea, coffee, red berries, soft drink, spices, curries and chocolate.
Tooth whitening is a process that lightens discolourations of enamel and dentine. The system uses a gel solution in a custom-fitted tray. As the active ingredient, (carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentine bleaching the stains present. The structure of the tooth is unchanged; only the tooth colour is made lighter. Bleaching systems that are available over the counter from shops are ineffective, have an unpleasant taste and sometimes even damage teeth.
None of these products have custom made trays which allow much faster bleaching and are a lot more comfortable and safer than over-the-counter alternatives. The time required is dependent on the darkness of your teeth and how stubborn the stains are. Bleaching usually takes 4-6 weeks.
Whitening happens gradually, you simply stop when you are happy with the result. You want a reasonably natural appearance, resist the temptation to whiten too much. Your dentist can help assess the desired result. You simply ‘touch up’ by re-applying the whitening gel as required. This varies with the individual, but usually people can go for years without retreatment.
Without periodic touch-ups, the teeth will re-stain over time. You can buy ‘Touch up’ kits from Limestone Dental Group, they are quite inexpensive.