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Tooth Whitening

Teeth often become darker in life due to changes in their mineral structure (intrinsic staining). They can also become stained by bacterial pigments, foodstuffs and tobacco (extrinsic staining).

Tooth whitening is now very popular and can make a dramatic improvement to your smile. It does no damage to your teeth and can be repeated as much as you wish. It involves the use of a gel releasing hydrogen peroxide which percolates into the tooth and bleaches out the staining without altering the tooth structure. It will not work on crowns or fillings except on surface staining.

Home Whitening – evidence based as the best technique

At Gwynne Dental we do home whitening because it is the most effective way to whiten your teeth with long lasting results.

  • Impressions taken for models on which custom-made trays are made. These are like thin mouth guards. Photographs and a shade of your teeth is taken.
  • 1 – 2 weeks later the trays are fitted to make sure an accurate, comfortable fit and instructions given on how to use the kit properly.
  • You place the gel in them and wear the trays for at least three hours per day, ideally overnight for about 10-14 days.
  • A review appointment is made to check the shade and progression of the whitening process 2 – 3 weeks later.

A common side effect can be increased sensitivity of your teeth. With any sensitivity you leave them out for a night or two. You should avoid black coffee, red wine etc. during that period. We recommend a thorough scaling and polishing with a hygienist beforehand.

Case carried out by R. Lilleker, Gwynne Dental

EU Legislation

  • Ensures the safety of patients
  • Make sure products contain no more than 6% hydrogen peroxide or 16% carbamide peroxide and can only be prescribed by a dental practitioner
  • A dental hygienist, dental therapist and clinical dental technician can administer tooth whitening under the dentists direct supervision and prescription
  • An examination by a dentist must be carried out prior to tooth whitening treatment
  • It is not suitable for under 18s

Home Kits

Home kits are cheaper but many sold in the UK do not contain enough of the whitening product to be effective and can contain mild acids and abrasives that damage your teeth. They legally cannot contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide which in line with evidence based dentistry is the most harmless and effective solution to use to whiten teeth.

How long will it last?

The effects of whitening can last up to three years. However, this will vary from person to person. The effect is less likely to last as long if you smoke, or eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. We usually advise one or two nights of wearing the night guards per year to keep the teeth at their new shade.

Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste typically has small particles of silica, aluminum oxide, calcium carbonate, or calcium phosphate to abrade off stains formed by coloured molecules that have adsorbed onto the teeth from food. Unlike bleaches, whitening toothpaste does not alter the intrinsic colour of teeth but will help remove these extrinsic stains.