Dental whitening (or bleaching) is a cosmetic procedure which uses hydrogen peroxide to change the colour of teeth and give a brighter, whiter smile.
There are several factors that can cause teeth to lose whiteness and become more of a yellow/ brown or grey colour; aging, drinking/eating certain things, smoking, even teeth grinding. Most stains on the surface of the tooth can be removed by regular brushing at home and professional cleaning at your dentist. However, professional or home cleaning will not impact intrinsic staining, which is within the tooth, and this is where dental whitening can really make a difference.
Dental Whitening Solutions
At Mark Osmond Dental Clinic we offer two different methods of dental whitening (see below). Which one the patient chooses is dictated by a number of factors. From a clinical perspective, if the patient has sensitive teeth we would recommend the home kit as this has a lower concentration of the bleaching agent in the gel. Other than this, the method you select is purely down to personal choice based on how quickly you want to achieve results, how significant a colour change you want to achieve, your budget and whether you are comfortable self-administering.
— In-office dental whitening
The procedure takes about an hour, and because it uses a relatively high concentration of bleaching gel requires a dentist to administer it. The lips and gums are protected and the bleaching gel is painted onto the teeth. At Mark Osmond Dental we also use a ‘laser’ light which helps activate and accelerate the bleaching effects of the gel and generally improves whitening results. The gel is topped-up after approximately 15mins and the procedure is repeated another one or two times. This method produces the most rapid results- you will see an immediate, significant colour change at that first appointment. For 3 days after this procedure the patient should not eat or drink anything highly coloured. If the patient chooses, this can be followed up with the same in-office treatment around 7 days later or by using the home-use kit.
— Professionally dispensed dental whitening kits for use at home
This method is still effective but uses a lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide so results are achieved more gradually over a period of days. The kit contains pre-loaded trays which are applied onto the teeth by the patient for a period of an hour. We recommend repeating this for 4 or 5 days although the kits we stock contain enough for a 10 day course.
It is important to stress that dental whitening does not cause any damage to teeth. However, we would add some ‘watch outs’. We do not recommend any method using the higher concentrations if you have sensitive teeth or for anyone under the age of 20 years. If you have crowns, veneers or fillings you need to be aware that these will not change colour during the whitening procedure.