Tooth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that has been used safely for many years and has recently seen a marked increase in demand from our patients wishing lighter teeth but reluctant to have any healthy tooth removed in the process of having crowns or veneers placed.
The degree of whiteness obtained depends on the structure of the teeth, how long and how often the bleaching solution is used. Whitening will not remove opaque marking within the tooth and may not whiten existing fillings - these may subsequently require replacement to match a new lighter tooth colour. Your dentist will discuss these issues in detail before any whitening is commenced.
The whitening solution used (usually carbamide peroxide) is applied to the teeth by means of a custom made trays similar in appearance to a sports gum shield but considerably less bulky. These are usually worn in the evenings or throughout the night for anything between a few days and three weeks. The whitening agent has little or no taste but sometimes causes short term sensitivity to temperature.
The treatment may be repeated at periodic intervals especially if smoking or tea/coffee/red wine have caused the original staining. Once the trays have been produced this "top up" whitening usually involves purchase of the whitening agent only.