Tooth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens stains in the enamel and dentine of your teeth, to give a brighter tooth colour.
How can your dentist whiten your teeth?
Tooth whitening can be done at home (using a customised tray system designed by your dentist) or in the dental office. Your dentist can provide a more effective tooth whitening system for use at home than the 'do-it- yourself' kits available at pharmacies. The dentist makes an impression for a model of your teeth. A thin, custom fitted, clear plastic tray that fits over your teeth is made. At home you place a whitening gel into the tray, and place the tray over your teeth. This is worn for up to two hours daily or at night. Results are usually seen after the first day, but maximum whitening may take 10-14 days. Your dentist will check on your progress. Your dentist can also whiten your teeth at the dental office using similar ingredients to the home use whitening. The whitening gel is applied to the tooth and may be activated with a special light for up to 20-30 minutes. Several repeat processes may be necessary.
Are there side effects of home or dental office treatment?
Sometimes people will experience increased tooth and gum sensitivity during treatment, which goes away shortly after stopping the treatment. The structure of the tooth is not changed by the process.
Can teeth with root fillings be whitened?
Yes. Root filled teeth are treated by placing a bleach inside the tooth. A protective rubber shield is placed over the tooth, and the tooth is partly opened into where the root filling has been placed. The inside is cleaned and a bleaching material is placed inside. The tooth is temporarily resealed and left 7-10 days. Sometimes two or three applications may be necessary.
How long does tooth whitening last?
Over time your teeth can lose some of their whiteness. You may need to repeat the process occasionally.