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Discolouration and staining of teeth are often caused by food and drinks, such as coffee, red wine, berries, and soy sauce. This when the outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel, becomes stained, resulting in yellow or brown marks. Teeth whitening treatment can be done to overcome this problem.
Teeth whitening/bleaching can either be for:
- Whitening a whole set of teeth
- A single tooth which has discoloured due to the tooth being non-vital. This happens when the tooth has been traumatised, decayed or root-treated in the past.
Whitening all your teeth
Results can be better when whitening your teeth professionally. Not only this, but results can also last longer and you can get a whiter smile when opting to whiten your teeth professionally.
The two most common ways to whiten your teeth are:
- Placing the bleach over the teeth and shining a light over the teeth for about an hour – this is done in the clinic with ZOOM! Whitening.
- Making a custom-made tray to fit over your teeth and leaving it in for an hour a day for 2-3 weeks
Single tooth/internal bleaching
When a tooth’s nerve and blood supply is severed (either from trauma or infection); the tooth can potentially start to go darker than the rest of the other teeth. So instead of placing the bleach around the tooth, the bleach can be placed within the tooth so that it whitens the tooth from the inside out. When internal bleaching is decided, the tooth needs to have a root canal treatment done first.
Then, the bleaching agent can be sealed within the tooth for several weeks. The bleach can be replenished (about twice) until the desired outcome is reached. At the end of the bleaching stage, the bleaching agent is removed, and a filling is placed to seal the tooth. In certain cases, when the desired outcome is not reached, veneers or crowns may need to be considered.
The Home Whitening Kit
The Home Whitening Kit consists of bleaching products, such as, whitening gel and custom-made trays that is safe and easy to use in the comfort of your own home.
How to whiten teeth:
Procedure and instructions
- The whitening gel is applied onto a custom-made tray which looks similar to a mouthguard.
- To make the whitening tray, your mouth is measured and impressions of your upper and lower teeth are taken to create a bleaching tray that can fit perfectly onto your teeth.
- The bleaching tray takes about a week to complete and is then sent back to the dentist.
- The dentist will check if it fits onto your teeth securely and once everything is checked and finalised, you will be given instructions and supplies on how to use and apply the gel properly.
- Once at home, apply the whitening gel onto the bleaching tray and secure it onto your teeth.
- At Aperture Dental Practice, we usually recommend wearing the bleaching trays for about one to two hours at a time, once to twice a day, over a two-week period for best results.
How long do the results of DIY teeth whitening last?
The results for at home teeth whitening treatment usually lasts a long time, but may vary from person to person, and gradually will start fading over time. Results can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. In some instances, results can even last a few months.
Contributing factors include the method used, the prior state of the teeth as well as the individual; therefore, we usually suggest a 6 or 12 monthly “touch up” treatment of one to two days duration.
Pros of teeth whitening
- Cheaper, safe and it does not damage your teeth.
- Convenient – do it at home!
- Do it anytime
- It does not require any surgery
- To refill the bleach is cheap
- It can enhance the appearance of your teeth giving you a whiter and more radiant smile.
Cons of teeth whitening
- A tray in your mouth for 1-2 hours a day for 2-3 weeks
- Slower results
- Weaker bleach
Results will be noticeable, but gradual
Frequently Asked Questions
It is indeed possible. Though results may not be as obvious or long-lasting as a professional treatment, it is possible to improve the whiteness of your teeth in the comfort of your own home.
Yes. Clinical studies have shown that whitening your teeth with carbamide or hydrogen peroxide under the supervision of a dental professional is safe for teeth and gums.
Somewhat. Foods such as strawberries that contain malic acid are known as natural teeth whiteners. However, the whitening effects of eating these foods are nowhere near as dramatic as say, a professional teeth-whitening service.