With the hectic pace of modern life, it is often easy to find ourselves eating more sugar than we would like. This can have a negative effect on the long-term health of our teeth, as well as staining the enamel, turning it yellow, over long periods. However, even if you are vigilant about avoiding too many sugars, you may still find the staining effect comes from other sources such as tea, coffee, wine or tobacco, which are an integral part of many people’s day.
Seeing your teeth like this can have a serious effect on your happiness and, if you feel self-conscious about them, this can lead to lower levels of self-confidence and to low self-esteem. It is, however, possible and increasingly easy to combat this and avoid any such concerns through professional teeth whitening. This process can be done in a number of ways.
Teeth whitening options
There are two ways you can have your teeth whitened. The first is with bleaching gel, which takes between two and four weeks to achieve, and the second is through laser whitening, which can be completed in one hour-long session. Whichever method you choose it will be necessary to talk it over thoroughly with your dentist beforehand, and visit them afterwards. If you are not certain that you want to undertake the procedure it is often wise to get a second opinion. Many leading practices such as Ten Dental offer both options and run on referral systems where your own dentist will likely refer you to the leading specialist practice in your area.
To have your teeth whitened with bleaching gel you arrange an appointment where the registered dentist takes an impression of your teeth. Using this impression, a mouthguard is fitted, which can allow you to apply the gel to your teeth while protecting them from the bleaching agent. Your dentist will then give you instructions on when to wear the mouth guard and for how long. Most mouthguards are meant to be worn for fairly short periods of time, over a period of two to four weeks, but some models can also be worn for eight hours at a time, shortening the period you need to wear the mouthguard to one week.
The laser whitening option, which is more efficient, involves a bleaching agent being painted on to your teeth, after which a powerful laser is shone on them which activates the whitening effect. At an hour in length this can be a more convenient option, but you should always check with your dentist which option is best for you.
Teeth whitening operations can be carried out by any professional dentist registered with the General Dental Council. It is illegal to offer teeth whitening without an accredited dentist, such as at a beauty salon with no dentist present. If there is not a medical need, for example a dead nerve ending, the operation will not be covered on the NHS as it is considered cosmetic.
Home tooth whitening kits are available but can be dangerous for your mouth if the mouthguard does not fit correctly and it is allowed to leak. This can lead to sensitive teeth, as the gel used can damages the gums around them.