Tooth Whitening in Essex

Tooth whitening is one of my favourite cosmetic dental procedures. There is a lot of mystery surrounding tooth whitening which confuses patients and dentists alike! Simply put, there are two main methods dentists can use to whiten teeth, one involves the patient sitting in the dental chair for an hour or so, whilst the dentist places a concentrated whitening gel (usually 38% hydrogen peroxide) on your teeth and "activates" it with a light/laser/heater etc. After this visit your teeth will be whiter, but you will also need to take home some bleaching trays to "top up" the whitening.

UPDATE: A new EU directive has made the use of any concentration greater than 6% Hydrogen Peroxide on teeth illegal. Therefore all Zoom/Laser treatments are now suspended until further notice. The home tooth whitening is legal if carried out by a dentist.

The home kit method involves no in-surgery step, i.e. no laser/heater/blue light stage. Instead you are given bleaching trays and whitening gel to take home and whiten gradually over a period of at least 10 days. In my experience, both methods work well, with the home-kits being my personal preference. They cause less sensitivity and are more predictable.

Does it hurt?

Tooth whitening does cause some sensitivity. Exactly how much sensitivity depends upon the individual. Some people can whiten every day for 2 weeks and not feel any sensitivity at all, while other patients whiten for 1 night and have sensitive teeth for days afterwards. There is however some good news, the sensitivity (if you get it) only lasts whilst you are whitening. Once you stop your teeth will go back to their original pre-whitening sensitivity levels.

Below are some frequent questions I have been asked about tooth whitening:

Will it damage my teeth?

The current evidence suggests that tooth whitening, when carried out with the correct products, is a safe and predictable procedure.

I see people in shopping centres and beauticians offering tooth whitening, is this ok?

Simply put, No. Tooth whitening is the practise of dentistry and can only be carried out by dentists and those on the GDC dental register. Anyone offering tooth whitening in a shopping centre, or beauticians, is practising in an unsafe environment and should be reported to the authorities.

How long will my teeth stay white for?

In my experience, teeth should maintain their colour for approximately 1-2 years. After this period, 7 nights of night-time bleaching restores the teeth to their previous whiteness. However, if you are a habitual smoker who drinks a lot of coffee, red wine and tea then the teeth will darken a lot sooner.

I have a front tooth that is much darker than the surrounding teeth, can it be whitened?

Yes it can! I had the same problem with my own front tooth, and have researched the topic intensively when I was deciding what to do. I can now safely and predictably whiten a discoloured front tooth after having done it to myself.

BDBS

In the UK we are lucky to have the British Dental Bleaching Society which aims to answer a lot of the questions surrounding tooth whitening. I have attended the necessary number of lectures and workshops with the BDBS and am now a GOLD member of the Society which shows how dedicated I am to this non-invasive, non-painful, cosmetic form of dental treatment.

I use the Enlighten system and am proud to be associated with the technique. More information on Enlighten tooth whitening can be found here.

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