Tooth whitening allows you to improve the colour of your teeth without losing any tooth substance. It will lighten the colour of your natural tooth enamel by a few shades and your dentist will monitor this change by recording the shade your teeth are before treatment begins.
Many people are now interested in having their teeth whitened because their tooth enamel has darkened. This can happen through time as teeth pick up stains from food, drinks or smoking or their teeth may have always had a darker colour than they are happy with.
The whitening is achieved using a gel whose active ingredient is carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. This is held against the tooth enamel in a special mouth guard which will be made to exactly fit to your mouth. Your dental team will first establish that your teeth are suitable for home whitening, then take an impression of your teeth. From this, the mouth guard will be constructed. Your dentist team will check that the guard fits well and then give you instructions on how to use the solution at home. An appointment is made for 2 weeks later where the change of shade can be assessed. If necessary, the treatment can be continued, until you achieve a colour both you and your dentist are happy with, but this will be under advisement.
Most people have no problems during the process, but occasionally some sensitivity can occur. Your dentist can advise you how to minimise this.
Although your teeth will be lighter after treatment, the enamel is still able to pick up stains as before. This can be reduced by restricting black coffee, red wine, smoking etc and by following oral hygiene instructions given by the dental team. You will also be able to keep your whitening mouth guard and use refill solutions to refresh in the future.