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Maida Smiles (W. London)

Tel: 020 3974 1777
01 Dec

5 things you need to know about teeth whitening


Have you ever felt uncomfortable smiling because your teeth appear more yellow?

Teeth whitening involves bleaching the teeth to achieve a desired shade. Our team at Maida Smiles Clinic will evaluate all different shade options and together we can achieve the most natural looking result for your teeth.

Whitening products typically use the chemicals hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. The bleach soaks into the dentine (the main part of the inside of the tooth which is slightly softer than the enamel) and reacts with the coloured molecules that cause discolouration.

#1 Your teeth are like sponges…they absorb.

Your teeth have pores, just like those on your face. This means that the colour of everything you eat or drink, will absorb into those pores. Coffee, wine, berries and smoking are all known to actively stain your teeth. Over time, your habits change the natural colour of your teeth and they become darker. Unfortunately, these stains are unlikely to ever go away without active removal. This is when teeth whitening comes in handy! The gel applied on your teeth works by entering your dentine and gently pushing stains out until you have reached your desired shade of white.

#2 Teeth whitening does not damage your teeth.

Just like aggressive brushing of your teeth, abuse of any kind can be damaging to your oral health. However, if used as instructed, professional teeth whitening is incredibly safe. The whitening process uses active ingredients to open pores in your teeth and lift stains temporarily. Professionally applied treatments typically have 35%-40% of a compound called hydrogen peroxide, while over-the-counter products have up to 10% hydrogen peroxide. These types of peroxide compounds are regularly used in a variety of dental treatments and have been for years. There is strong scientific evidence that the compounds and treatment are both very safe and whitening your teeth will not cause any damage. In fact, after each whitening session, your teeth naturally remineralize and rehydrate.

 #3 The difference between in-clinic or at-home whitening.

We have many patients ask us whether there are differences between take-home teeth whitening kits and the Zoom in-chair laser treatment. The differences are quite significant, but there are no hard and fast rules for choosing either.

Which procedure you decide to choose all comes down to personal preference, how much you are willing to spend on teeth whitening as well, as your sensitivity tolerance.

The Zoom professional whitening option is slightly more costly compared to home-use solutions, but provides a more secure method of whitening, as it is performed by a dental professional. Results can be more precise and are seen immediately after a single appointment. For those with more sensitive teeth, who do not mind a longer process, a professional take home whitening kit is the way to go! This option is also slightly less expensive. However, keep in mind that it will require discipline and consistency. You should ideally use the system for 15 minutes every day before going to bed. An added bonus of the take-home kit is that you are able to maintain your results for as long as you desire. Refill bleach tubes can be purchased through the practice.

#4 Is the procedure painful?

No, professional teeth whitening will not cause pain. However, tooth sensitivity during treatment is completely normal and occurs due to dehydration of your teeth. Nevertheless, 50% of patients experience little to no sensitivity and are able to sit through the entire procedure. The other 50% of patients cannot complete the full four rounds due to sensitivity. If you are a person with more sensitive teeth, you can do a few things at home to tackle this before your treatment. For example, using sensitive toothpaste for at least 1 month prior to the procedure is a great start.

#5 Am I suitable for the procedure?

You most likely are. However, you must have a check-up and clean prior to the procedure. The reason for this is we do not want to be placing and bleaching agents on areas which may have decay. This will make the procedure painful and uncomfortable as areas which are decayed are porous.

A clean is required to ensure the teeth are free from debris, plaque and tartar build-up. This is recommended at least a few days to a week prior to the procedure. By ensuring the teeth are free from build-up, we can ensure an even bleaching result. Teeth which are bleached without having a scale and clean prior can end in a result which is uneven and patchy.

If you have fillings, crowns or veneers on your front teeth these also will not whiten and may have to be replaced if you wish for your teeth to be one uniform colour.y season!