What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces. It cannot make a complete colour change, but it may lighten the existing shade.
What it is used for?
There is the number of reasons why you might get your teeth whitened. Everyone is different and just as our hair and skin colour vary so do our teeth. Our teeth become more discoloured as we get older. Your teeth can also be stained on the surface by food & drinks such as tea, coffee, red wine and black-current. Smoking can also stain teeth. Calculus and tarter can also affect the colour of your teeth.
What does teeth whitening involve?
Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. Professional bleaching is the most usual method of tooth whitening. Your dental team will be able to tell if you are suitable for the treatment.
Firstly, the dental team will put a rubber shield or gel on your gums to protect them. They will then apply whitening product to your teeth using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a mouthguard. The active ingredient of the product is usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as active ingredient broken down, oxygen gets into the enamel on the teeth and the tooth colour is made lighter.
For whitening at home, your dentist can make a tray to hold the whitening gel that fit your teeth precisely. Home whitening gel usually needs to be applied daily for two or three weeks.
When tooth whitening might not work?
Tooth whitening can only lighten your existing tooth colour. Also, it only works on natural teeth. It will not work on decayed teeth or any type of false teeth such as dentures, crowns, veneers.
How to maintain newly whitened smile?
Over time exposure to foods, drinks(especially tea, coffee coals) and tobacco will gradually darken your newly whitened teeth. Here are some tips to maintain your newly whitened teeth.
Use whitening toothpaste to remove surface stains and prevent yellowing
Brush or rinse immediately after consuming stain-causing beverages or foods.
Depending upon whitening method you may need the touch up in six months or after a year or two. If you smoke or drink a lot of coffee you may need a touch up more often.