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Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth. As I wrote about before in my post about staining, there are two types of staining on your teeth: extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic staining is colouring of the surface of the teeth caused by colouring additives in food and drinks, smoking, exposure to certain bacteria, and poor teeth cleaning. Intrinsic staining is darkening of the inner structure of the tooth due to trauma, bruising, aging, or various reasons. Unfortunately, with intrinsic staining, those causes are impossible to avoid while living a normal life! But, hope is not lost; we can still brighten your smile. Teeth whitening has never been more convenient with the ‘take home’ system; allowing you to take control of the process and achieve professional results!


Typically, teeth whitening is part of the smile makeover journey and you’re considering having other cosmetic dentistry done as well to find your perfect smile. I always caution anyone considering whitening that most dental work (e.g. crowns, veneers) will not lighten along with your natural teeth. Often, whitening can be used as a precursor. Once your idea tooth shade is achieved, we can either shade match perfectly or we could have a lighter canvas to bond to. (Due to the thin nature of a composite bonding veneer, dark staining of the tooth underneath can show through.)


Whitening gel (active ingredient: hydrogen peroxide) is absorbed by the tooth and it oxides the colour molecule, breaking it down to whiten from the inside out. Generally, hydrogen peroxide can use used as an oxidizer, bleaching agent, or antiseptic. This means, from the wrong source, it can have damaging consequences. It is a very delicate balance of a formula. With many companies racing for the cheapest, quickest result, I strongly recommend you do your research into the reliability and the safety of the teeth whitening brand you choose. ​

Side note: There’s a trend going around where people are making their own teeth whitening mouthrinse/ paste at home with hydrogen peroxide (commonly used to cleanse wounds).

Please, please do not do it!

Whitening products not provided by a dentist can only contain less than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide and very little of the active ingredient that whitens your teeth. Some products don’t contain any whitening ingredients and instead can contain ingredients such as lemon juice, citric acid, charcoal, and bicarbonate soda that are damaging to your teeth long term.

Custom made whitening trays are designed to maximize results. The edges that are scalloped to follow the contour of your gums and the vacuum seal allow the whitening gel to achieve a complete contact with the desired surfaces for a safer, more effective result.



What to expect:

· Consultation

· Where we’ll talk about you and your life, and your hopes and expectations for your smile

· General health check to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy before whitening

· Upper and lower impressions taken in alginate of your teeth which is sent to the lab to cast up and craft a custom thermo-form whitening tray

· Demonstration by your dental professional on how to use whitening tray and gel

· Take home and watch your teeth become brighter

· Review in 2 weeks

Tried and tested, the whitening system that I use is the Philips DayWhite or NightWhite. This teeth whitening formula has the addition of ACP (amorphous calcium phosphate). ‘(ACP) is an essential mineral phase formed in mineralized tissues and the first commercial product as artificial hydroxyapatite. [...]ACP may also be a potential remineralizing agent in dental applications. Recently developed ACP-filled bioactive composites are believed to be effective anti-demineralizing/remineralizing agents for the preservation and repair of tooth structures.’ (Zhao, J. et al. 2011). Basically, ACP can help make the tooth stronger and reduces sensitivity without compromising the result.


How to use

With DayWhite, you use it for 30 minutes twice a day for approximately 2 weeks.

With NightWhite, it’s used for 4-6 hours every night as you sleep for 1-2 weeks.


1) Brush and floss well to remove plaque

2) Put a small teardrop size drop of tooth whitening gel into each tooth space in your whitening tray (see video below)

3) Gently place trays over your teeth

4) When the prescribed time is up, take out the trays and clean well with cold water (make sure no whitening gel is left over)

5) Rinse your mouth with water and brush your teeth for a whiter smile


For best, long-lasting results, remove of extrinsic staining by professional polishing and avoidance of staining sources (wine, coffee, etc.)







References

1) Carey C. M. (2014). Tooth whitening: what we now know. The journal of evidence-based dental practice, 14 Suppl, 70–76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jebdp.2014.02.006

2) Zhao, J., Liu, Y., Sun, W. B., & Zhang, H. (2011). Amorphous calcium phosphate and its application in dentistry. Chemistry Central journal, 5, 40. https://doi.org/10.1186/1752-153X-5-40

3) Teeth whitening in-practice or at home | Philips Zoom!. (2020). Retrieved 10 October 2020, from https://www.philips.co.uk/c-m-pe/teeth-whitening

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