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