It’s official, the sun has dusted the cobwebs off his straw hat, donned his Crocs and shown his best summer smile.
As the warmer months fulfil their duty, providing longer days and a temperate climate to show off a little more flesh to, every dental surgery has one question rise in popularity:
- Can you tell me more about teeth whitening please?
The summer sunshine seems to intensify celebrations – weddings, engagement parties, outdoor BBQs and, of course, the annual holiday. People want to look their best and whilst there may be an element of keeping up with the Jones’s there’s also the fact that cosmetic dentistry is now much more affordable and teeth whitening is in demand.
Why do teeth stain?
Your teeth will stain naturally over time but the modern diet of convenience food and drink, coupled with smoking and high sugar intake, can escalate imperfections. The most common culprits include:
- Various forms of smoking and tobacco
- Dark-coloured drinks including tea, coffee, red wine and cola
- Improper care
- Ageing due to teeth’s enamel wearing thin
Enamel forms the outer layer of each tooth which covers a secondary layer, called dentin. It’s the reflection and dispersion of light off the enamel surface, combined with the dentin colour underneath, that depicts the overview visible pigment of your teeth.
Discolouration affects the vibrancy of your teeth and a whitening procedure will help to illuminate your pearly whites once again – just what the dentist ordered for a twinkling smile this summer.
So what do you need to know about teeth whitening?
With effective laser treatments, it’s a relatively quick process at the clinic or, for those who prefer the DIY route then, there are home teeth bleaching kits available.
The technique is perfectly safe and stains will be removed by lightening your teeth to a suitable shade of whiteness.
Depending on the current level of stains and the desired shade of white, you may need to have more than one cosmetic treatment.
There are two types of teeth whitening procedure you should be aware of:
- Vital whitening – gel is applied to the tooth surface where live nerves are present
- Non-vital whitening – a procedure used for root-canal treatments where the tooth no longer has live nerves
Vital whitening works directly on the tooth surface whereas non-vital whitening works by a whitening agent being placed inside the tooth.
Teeth whitening is more effective against surface stains, caused by the common culprits mentioned earlier.
Some people may be troubled with stains that occur inside the tooth itself – intrinsic stains. These stains are usually caused at an early when the teeth are still developing. Often, it’s the result of too much fluoride or excess use of certain types of antibiotics.
Whilst some forms of teeth whitening may work in the case of intrinsic stains, it’s always best to talk in detail with your dentist to ensure you have a realistic expectation of the results.
Are there any side effects to teeth whitening?
Other than a slight feeling of tooth sensitivity or mild gum irritation for a couple of days, you should feel no pain or experience any side effects. It is not recommended for pregnant women to undergo a procedure to whiten teeth.
For more information, including teeth whitening prices, please call the practice on 024 7668 6690 and may we wish you all the best for National Smile Month.