Whitening lightens the colour of your teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration, making it one of the most popular dental cosmetic procedures on offer. It’s important to know, however, that whitening is not a one-off process. It needs to be repeated over time to maintain brightness.
What causes tooth discoloration?
The outermost layer of your teeth is enamel. Most of us start out with thick, sparkling white porcelain-like enamel. With age, enamel becomes worn down and more transparent, allowing the yellow colour of the inner tooth structure, dentine, to show through.
There are two categories of tooth staining: extrinsic staining and intrinsic staining.
- The most common causes of extrinsic staining are smoking, heavy consumption of tea/coffee/red wine and poor oral hygiene. Teeth whitening is most effective in removing extrinsic staining.
- Intrinsic staining can result from trauma (such as falls), medication (tetracyline can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child up to 8 years old), or excessive fluoride exposure while teeth are developing. Teeth whitening works on intrinsic staining, but in cases of discolouration from trauma, additional dental treatment is likely to be required.
What are the different whitening options?
In-chair whitening (eg Zoom)
Significant colour change in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-chair whitening. Your dentist will apply a rubber shield and liquid latex to protect your gums. Whitening gel is then applied to your teeth in 15 minute intervals adding up to an hour. A specialised blue light activates the gel and allows whitening to happen faster.
Take-home teeth whitening kit
Your kit contains close fitting custom-made teeth whitening trays and a user-friendly lower-concentration whitening gel. Whitening gel is applied to the trays, and you will need to wear these trays consistently for an hour every day for a week or two to achieve the desired result.
We also recommend this as a good option to maintain your result from in-chair whitening over the long haul.
What are the risks involved?
- Sensitivity: whitening can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch. Patients at greatest risk for whitening sensitivity are those with gum recession, significant cracks in their teeth or failing restorations resulting in leakage. Post-whitening sensitivity lasts no longer than a day or two. We also issue a sensitivity relief gel and toothpaste for home use after your treatment.
- Gum irritation: this can occur as a result of contact between your gum and the whitening agent. Such irritation typically lasts up to several days.
What about the teeth whitening cost?
At Smile Solutions we make the teeth bleaching cost affordable. We have a one-hour Philips Zoom special at $375. Our take-home teeth whitening kit is also priced at $375.
Please call our team on 13 13 96 for more information.