Safely, is the best answer. And professional tray-whitening is the solution. Although the enamel on our teeth is very strong – it has to be so we can bite and chew – it’s vulnerable too. Therefore, it makes sense to ask for professional advice. After all, while it’s true that many off us do want whiter teeth, we also want to keep our mouth healthy.
Whiter teeth definitely make us look younger. And, compared to other cosmetic treatments, tooth whitening is effective, it’s relatively cheap and, apart from a bit of tingling, painless. As our smile is one of the first things that most people notice, it’s worth making sure that it looks healthy and bright.
From off-white to darker shades of yellow, there’s a wide range of natural tooth colour. Over time, our tooth colour changes too. Drinking coffee or red wine, for example, causes external discolouration of our teeth. Sometimes illness, or the use of certain antibiotics, causes internal discolouration. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause just one tooth to darken. Your dentist will be able to identify the cause of discolouration and recommend how to proceed if you want whiter teeth. Sometimes a whitening treatment may be the answer, or perhaps a veneer is a better solution.
It’s simply not worth taking a risk. Although teeth re-mineralise when they’re healthy, once the enamel is damaged, it can’t regenerate.
DIY whitening kits sold legally over-the-counter, are not really strong enough to make much of a difference. On the other hand, those sold illegally are likely to cause harm. Without professionally made customised trays, the bleach, usually hydrogen peroxide, can leak into your mouth harming gum tissue or your lips.
There are a lot of whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes, on the market. They are useful as part of a regular oral hygiene routine. Flossing regularly also helps to dislodge plaque that builds up and darkens as it hardens into tartar. Using dental hygiene products helps keep our teeth clean and polishes the enamel too. Some even remove stains on the surface although they are unlikely to make a significant change to tooth colour.
Because we need to be careful not to weaken tooth enamel or harm sensitive gum and mouth tissue, patients can feel confident of a successful result when they invest in a tray-whitening system prescribed by a dentist.
Once we’ve decided we want whiter teeth, what’s next?
Your dentist is the professional who understands teeth, and can give you advice about how to make them whiter, without damaging the protective enamel or sensitive gums. Most dentists offer tray-whitening.
There are different brands, and different strengths of gel, so treatment times vary. The process, however, is straightforward.
- After determining whether tooth whitening will enhance your teeth without damage, the dentist will take impressions of your mouth.
- Skilled technicians then manufacture high quality trays to hold the whitening gel close to all of the surfaces of your teeth. These trays vary from other moulded dental appliances as they are constructed with reservoirs to hold the gel.
- At your next appointment, the dentist will show you how to put the gel into the trays, fit them and explain how long you should wear them for.
- At home, the patient puts whitening gel into the custom-made trays to wear for a prescribed amount of time on consecutive nights. Most patients feel comfortable enough to be able to sleep with the trays in.
- It is important to follow instructions as the tooth-whitening process can only work when the patient follows the prescribed routine. Over-use of the gel can also cause damage.
- Your dentist will schedule additional appointments to monitor the treatment as needed.
If you want whiter teeth, find your nearest SpaDental practice to arrange a tooth whitening consultation.
- Some patients at SpaDental Plymouth prefer to have Zoom whitening treatment done in the surgery.