Home > Dental Procedures > Tooth Whitening

Tooth Whitening

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 7 Jul 2010 | comments*Discuss
Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is a cosmetic dental treatment used to brighten the natural colour of your teeth. Over the years the natural whiteness of your teeth can become stained by tobacco foods and certain drinks such as coffee, tea and red wine. Tooth whitening is an effective treatment that will bring back the brightness of your teeth in a short space of time.

Candidates for Tooth Whitening

Certain tooth conditions do exist that will mean tooth whitening will not be a viable option. If you have teeth with white fillings, or bonding on your teeth, then the whitening process will not make any difference. You also cannot whiten any type of dentures or bridgework. The darker the teeth the less effective the whitening process will be, but people with yellowish or stained teeth should notice a big difference. Your dentist will be able to give advice on the best options and may suggest veneers if the whitening process is not a viable option.

The Tooth Whitening Process

Tooth whitening by your dentist will usually be achieved by bleaching the teeth. The solution used will contain either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide, which will break down on the tooth and allow oxygen into the enamel. This then bleaches the teeth and achieves the desired whitening effect.

The dentist will first place a protective covering over the gums; usually a rubber guard or some form of gel. He will then apply the bleaching agent to the teeth using a tray specifically designed to fit your own teeth.

The tooth whitening treatment will usually take around two or three visits to complete and the whole process should last no longer than a month. The dental visits will also be combined with an at home whitening process. You will need to regularly apply the bleaching agent at home for around 30 minutes for a period of at least two to four weeks. Your dentist will advise you of the exact frequency of application.

Other Methods of Tooth Whitening

Laser, or power whitening, is another professional procedure that can leave teeth up to six shades whiter. The process involves using a light or laser to activate a bleaching agent that has been placed on your teeth. Laser whitening is far quicker than traditional bleaching methods, and the procedure will usually only take around an hour to complete.

You can have as many teeth as you like whitened, whether it a full set or individual teeth. Teeth that appear dark after root canal treatment can achieve a whiter appearance by applying the agent to the inside of the tooth.

Longevity of Tooth Whitening

If you do not smoke or consume a lot of stain causing food or drink, then your bright smile should last for around three years. This estimated timescale will vary from individual to individual, and on the tooth whitening process used.

Home Tooth Whitening Kits

There has been a lot of speculation regarding the effectiveness of home whitening kits. Many of these kits do not contain enough of the bleaching agents to significantly achieve the desired whiteness. There have also been findings that some of the kits have gone above the recommended level of bleaching agent, or contain abrasive elements; this can have a serious detrimental effect on the enamel of the teeth. For the best results, the tooth whitening procedure should only be performed by a professional.

Whitening Toothpaste

There are a number of toothpastes available that are specifically designed to whiten the teeth. Although these toothpastes cannot improve on the natural colour of your teeth they may be able to help eliminate stains.

Caring for Your Whitened Teeth

Once the teeth have been whitened, there are only a few rules to stick by that will keep them in good condition. Daily brushing and flossing, and limiting the amount of sugary snacks and drinks that can stain the teeth is recommended. If you smoke then this can seriously stain the teeth, not to mention increase the chances of tooth infection.

If performed by a professional, tooth whitening can show a marked difference to the colour of your teeth. The teeth will be significantly brighter, and previously stained or discoloured teeth will now blend with the natural colour of the adjacent teeth. Tooth whitening has become a very popular treatment to enhance the teeth without the need for surgery.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
There are some great Home Tooth Whitening Kits like you said. I have treid a couple of them and must say they work pretty decent.
white teeth guy - 17-Mar-11 @ 7:02 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Zee
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Hi Since i had root canal done has caused me lot of doenside on my health evdn though i look after myself and diet. Recently i have had lump…
    15 February 2019
  • Sue
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Like Ann, I have also read the What Doctors Don't Tell You article on Ozone dental treatment and would like to find a dentist in the London…
    24 January 2019
  • Sha
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I live in Dorset and want to know the nearest dentist that will treat my receding gums with ozone treatment . A honest dentist as I’ve had…
    10 November 2018
  • Ann
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Do you know any dentists in London or outer London who use ozone to kill bacteria in teeth and gums please? 'What Doctors Don't Tell You' has…
    28 October 2018
  • nicola
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    Hi I am looking for a dentist that uses ozone therapy in the south west pf England. Is there a list anywhere?
    12 April 2018
  • Dri
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I extracted the tooth to 1 month ago and it is not healing before the ectration I took 3 boxes of amoxiline and after the extraction two more…
    15 November 2017
  • DiU
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    @Bunty - you never think about the problems that dentures can cause. You've completely put me off having any even after…
    30 October 2017
  • Bunty
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    Hi, I have had partial dentures for 18 months and can't cope, at all, with them! They fall out, bouncing about and I can't eat…
    28 October 2017
  • Kat
    Re: Ozone Dental Therapy
    I have a 'pocket' in my low jaw bone below a crowned molar. The tooth is starting to be sore and I am having early signs of infection. My…
    20 July 2017
  • Ches
    Re: Effect of Dentures on Digestion
    I had dental transplants done 2 yrs ago.....lower only....I have had to have them refitted twice with new sockets.....at the…
    3 April 2017