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What is tooth whitening?
Tooth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens stains in the enamel and dentine of your teeth, to give a brighter tooth colour.
What are the benefits of tooth whitening?
The confidence of a bright white smile!
Are all teeth suitable for whitening?
Tooth whitening may be done on live teeth and teeth that have had root canal treatment.
Before having your teeth whitened, your dentist will check to make sure your teeth are suitable to be treated. In some cases treatment may be difficult or ineffective, for example with staining caused during tooth formation by certain antibiotics.
Tooth whitening may make your old fillings or crowns look darker after treatment, so it is very important to be checked and advised of this before you proceed.
Areas of your teeth may whiten at different rates depending on the location of the stain. Hardness of the tooth and the intensity of the stain.
How can your dentist whiten your teeth?
Tooth whitening can be done at home (using a custom tray system designed by your dentist), or in the dental office.
Your dentist can provide a more effective tooth whitening system for use at home than the do it yourself kits available at pharmacies.
The dentist makes an impression for a model of your teeth. A thin custom fitted, clear plastic, tray that fits over your teeth is made.
At home you place a whitening gel into the tray, and place the tray over your teeth. This is worn for up to two hours daily or at night.
Results are usually seen after the first day, but maximum whitening may take 10-14 days. Your dentist will check on your progress.
Your dentist can also whiten your teeth at the dentist office, using similar ingredients to the home use whitening.
The whitening gel is applied to the tooth and may be activated with a special light for up to 20- 30 minutes. Several repeat processes may be necessary
Are there side effects of home or dental office treatment?
Sometimes people will experience increased tooth and gum sensitivity during treatment, which goes away shortly after stopping treatment.
The structure of the tooth is not changed by the process
Can teeth with root fillings be whitened?
Yes. Root filled teeth are treated by placing a bleach inside the tooth.
A protective rubber shield is placed over the tooth, and the tooth is partly opened into where the root filling has been placed. The inside is cleaned and a bleaching material is placed inside.
The tooth is temporally resealed and left 7-10 days. Sometimes two or three applications may be necessary.
How long does tooth whitening last?
Over time your teeth can loose some of their whiteness. You may need to repeat the process occasionally.
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