What is Tooth Whitening?
There are many different ways to whiten teeth, some more effective than others. Teeth can appear yellow or discoloured due to surface staining from smoking, tea, coffee or red wine or internal darkening due to pigmentation of the underlying dentine.
How can surface staining be removed?
Air-polishing can be a more effective alternative to scaling and polishing.
How good are Over-the-counter products?
Any product bought over-the-counter in the UK and EU will be almost completely ineffective. This is due to an EU directive that limits the amount of peroxide, the active ingredient for tooth whitening products, to a level that is too low to have a noticeable effect. Some products available in the USA contain more effective amounts of peroxide and will have a limited outcome.
Do Whitening Toothpastes work?
This is a misnomer. These toothpastes either contain abrasive particles, which can damage enamel (smoker’s toothpastes) or detergents that help to remove staining (e.g. Colgate Whitening toothpaste). The former should be avoided, but the detergent toothpastes are fine for removing superficial staining and keeping the teeth clean, they will however not whiten the teeth.
What is In-surgery Whitening ?
These techniques use high concentration peroxide gels to very effectively whiten the teeth. This technique can give spectacular instant results but is very expensive. As with any whitening procedure, the teeth will inevitably darken again with time but the effect can be topped up either by the same method or with home whitening. The teeth can be sensitive for a period of time afterwards.
What is Home Whitening?
This is the whitening technique we favour in our practice and our experience is backed up by studies in the dental academic literature. A stable gel called carbide peroxide is used in custom-made trays usually worn overnight. Your dentist will assess whether your teeth are suitable and monitor the progress over several visits.