What is it?
Tooth whitening is a process that bleaches the outer layers of the tooth. It involves the placement of a mild gel in a tray that is specially made to suit each individuals mouth. This tray needs to be worn for 1.5 hours each day.
Does it work?
As a general rule it works very well, with the success depending on:
- the type of stain
- the degree of staining
- the length of time the tray is worn
The teeth are nearly always lighter than originally. However it is advisable to consult with a dentist with regards to the type of stain you may have and the chances of success. This technique also works very well for people who have unrestored teeth but would like a brighter smile.
How long does it take to work?
The results vary according to the type of stain. Usually, after a few days, some colour changes may be noted. The maximum results is generally seen after 2 – 3 weeks.
How long does it last?
In most cases the results seem to be maintained for a considerable time with recent studies showing the improvement lasting up to three years. At this stage, rebleaching can easily be done if the person keeps their trays from the original treatment since top up whitening gel is easily available.
Is it safe?
When used under the supervision of a dentist, this procedure has been shown to be quite safe. The main side effect are increased tooth sensitivity and/or gum irritation. Occasional nausea or sore throats have occurred if the bleach is swallowed.
These side effects disappear within a few days of completion or interruption of the treatment. However, the greatest majority of patients have no side effects.