The process of tooth whitening lightens the colour of a tooth. Tooth whitening is achieved by either changing the intrinsic colour or by removing and controlling the formation of extrinsic stains. The chemical degradation of the chromogens within or on the tooth is termed as bleaching.
Why do I need Teeth Whitening?
Teeth Whitening is used to whiten stains caused by various reasons:
- Whitening discolouration due to plaque, tartar or other oral health concerns. You cannot completely change the colour of your teeth with Teeth whitening but it can lighten the current shade of your teeth, making you smile brighter.
- Disguising the signs of aging. As you age, your tooth enamel is worn down, making it easier for tooth discolouration or oral health problems to occur. Teeth whitening is a great way to offset the effects of aging in order to maintain a beautiful and healthy smile.
- Hiding the damage caused by smoking. Smoking damages your teeth, leading to a higher risk of developing oral health problems such as more build-up of plaque and bacteria on your teeth and/or tooth discolouration. Teeth whitening targets the tooth discolouration caused by smoking and help you have a brighter, healthier smile.
- Improving your self-confidence as your smile plays an important part in your confidence and showing your personality. Teeth whitening boosts your smile whilst giving your self-confidence a boost as well.
How long does Teeth Whitening last?
Teeth Whitening is not permanent. People who expose their teeth to a lot of foods and beverages that cause staining may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as 1 month. Those who avoid foods and beverages that stain may be able to wait 1 year or longer before another whitening treatment or touch-up is needed.
Are certain stains more susceptible to Whitening than others are?
Yellowish teeth respond well to bleaching, brownish-coloured teeth do not respond as well, and greyish-hue or purple-stained teeth may not respond well to bleaching at all. Blue-grey staining is more difficult to lighten and may require up to 6 months of home treatments or several clinic appointments to successfully lighten. Teeth that have dark stains may be better candidates for another lightening option, such as veneers, bonding, or crowns.
With all types of bleaching procedures, the degree of whiteness will vary from person to person depending on the condition of the teeth and the nature of the stain.
What risks are involved with Teeth Whitening?
Two side effects that occur most often are a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity and mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth, particularly the gums. Tooth sensitivity often occurs during early stages of the bleaching treatment. Both of these conditions usually are temporary and disappear within 1 to 3 days of stopping or completing treatment.
What can I do to prolong the Whitening Effect after treatment?
Tips for maintaining your newly whitened teeth include:
- If you choose to consume beverages that stain, try to use a straw so that the liquid bypasses your front teeth.
- Rinse immediately after consuming stain-causing beverages or foods.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss at least once daily to remove plaque.
- Use a whitening toothpaste (once or twice a week only) to remove surface stains and prevent yellowing. Use a regular toothpaste the rest of the time.