Have you have decided to whiten your teeth, but are unsure which method to use to achieve your brighter smile? These days, thanks to modern science, there are so many options available to the consumer when it comes to teeth whitening, that choosing the type of treatment can appear to be a difficult decision to make. You should only ever go to a registered dental practitioner for teeth whitening as whitening by people who aren’t qualified is illegal and kits brought off the shelf also carry risks. At Alresford and Twyford Dental Care, we offer two choices. Zoom is a scientifically advanced, safe and extremely fast treatment that can dramatically lighten your teeth within an hour (Find out all about Zoom here). Alternatively, you could opt for a special whitening gel, which along with personally made trays, can be used in the comfort of your own home.
The Treatment Process
Prior to beginning whitening treatment with us, your dentist will want to check your teeth to assess their suitability. X-rays may also be needed and a checkup with your hygienist may be required prior to any treatment starting.
- Gel Whitening
In order for the trays to be individually tailored, impressions of your teeth will be taken, from which the custom trays will be made. These trays will fit your teeth perfectly and comfortably.
The pre-treatment shade of your teeth will be noted and your dentist will demonstrate how to apply the whitening gel to the trays and fit them to your teeth.
For the best results, the trays should be worn as directed by your dentist. Don’t be despondent if your teeth don’t respond to the gel as quickly as you would hope as some people’s teeth take longer than others. For example, teeth stained by the antibiotic tetracycline may require up to 6months of treatment to obtain the desired shade. Any concerns your dentist may have about a longer treatment period will be discussed with you. Be patient, as you will be able to get a minimum of 8 shades lighter with this type of whitening.
These before and after pictures show what can be achieved with whitening. Our Dentist Luke Hutchings won the Aesthetic Dentistry award 2016 for this work.
- Zoom Whitening
Carried out in the dental surgery, this is an efficient process for those who maybe short of time. The dentist will apply a protective coating to cover your lips, cheeks and gums. A gel is then placed on your teeth and a light is shined on them for fifteen minutes. This process is repeated twice more. The treatment takes about an hour.
Are there any side effects with whitening?
During the treatment, your teeth may experience some degree of sensitivity when it comes to hot and cold drinks and food or even cold air. If you suffer from sensitivity, there are ways to combat this.
Soothing sensitive teeth
- Allow time for brushing your teeth before whitening as brushing after whitening can open pores on the dentin further and create sensitivity.
- Try using a desensitizing gel on your teeth 10-30 minutes prior to treatment, and apply using the same trays that you use for whitening, remembering to rinse them out afterwards.
- After whitening, rinse your mouth out with water or a ph re-balancing mouthrinse.
- You could try cutting back the treatment to every other day and using the trays for shorter times. Sometimes, just giving your teeth a break can help alleviate the symptoms. Alternatively, you may find that taking your normal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen, 1 hour prior to using the trays, can lessen the sensitivity you feel.
- Be aware of what you are eating and drinking. Cut down on your extremely cold and hot consumables and limit any acids during active whitening periods.
How long will the sensitivity last after tooth whitening?
Whilst sensitivity is very common, it is usually of short duration and should not last longer than 24-48hours. Always contact your dentist if you find sensitivity persists or worsens.
How long will it be before I need to whiten my teeth again?
Avoiding heavily stained food and drink (such as coffee, curry and red wine) and nicotine products will help prolong the shade of your teeth. Generally, if you look after your teeth, the effects can last up to three years.