Teeth Whitening

Dossier : White teeth: how can you rediscover a bright white smile?

Teeth Whitening

Isn’t the world a better place when you smile? Smiles are key to feeling confident and happy.

Many people want to improve their smile and believe brighter, whiter teeth that look natural are the elements of a great smile.

The causes of tooth discolouration

Tooth discolouration can be intrinsic, extrinsic or a combination of both.

Extrinsic stains can be caused by:

  • Foods containing tannins such as red wine, coffee and tea.
  • Tobacco use, whether it is smoking or chewing tobacco.

Intrinsic stains can be caused by:

  • Exposure to high levels of fluoride.
  • Administration of tetracycline antibiotics during childhood.

What is teeth whitening?

We talk about teeth whitening as a single treatment, but there are actually a number of options within three categories:

  • Dentist supervised night guard bleaching
  • ‘In chair’ or ‘power bleaching’
  • Mass market bleaching products  (sold and first administered by the dentist)

However, each comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Dentist supervised night guard bleaching generally use a relatively low level of whitening agent applied to the teeth via a custom fabricated mouth guard and is worn for at least 2 weeks.

'In chair' bleaching generally uses relatively high levels of whitening agents, for example 25-35% hydrogen peroxide, for shorter time periods. The whitening agent is applied to the teeth after protection of the soft tissues and the peroxide may be activated by heat or light. This procedure is sometimes known as 'power bleaching.

Mass market products typically contain low levels of whitening agent (e.g. 3-6% hydrogen peroxide) that are self-applied to the teeth by a dentist.

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