Over time, our tooth enamel starts to discolour. Unfortunately, this is a natural part of the ageing process, which will happen to all of us. Often it’s simply down to genetics and our general lifestyle and diet. Our regular consumption of dark food and drink (tea, coffee, coke, berries etc) contributes significantly, as do activities such as smoking, which can make the teeth look yellow. Sometimes, our teeth can change colour as the result of damage or previous dental work (root canals) while certain long-term medications can also darken the teeth over time.
As stains appear on the inside and outside of the teeth, no matter how well you brush, or how often you visit the hygienist, it’s impossible to stop this gradual change.
Sensitive teeth can be a common side effect of tooth whitening. To help prevent this, gels contain special ingredients which are proven to help reduce sensitivity, protect enamel and improve the lustre of teeth for a brighter smile.
In short, yes. Tooth whitening is highly safe and suitable for use on the majority of people. Provided it is carried out by a registered, qualified and experienced dentist the risks of damage are minimal. We would always advise that you avoid whitening kits that can be bought online, as these are usually unregulated and therefore illegal. Often it is impossible to tell what is contained in such kits, meaning they could cause serious damage to your teeth and gums.
Before whitening treatment, all new patients must undergo a check-up first to ensure that their oral health is in a position to start the whitening process.
Everyone is different and we can advise you following a consultation and full check of your teeth.
Bear in mind that manufactured teeth or restorations such as crowns, fillings, dentures and bridges can’t be whitened. They can, however, be replaced (at an additional cost) to match the shade of your new teeth.
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The most common side effect is tooth and gum sensitivity. Your dentist will be able to advise you on whether you are a good candidate for whitening and they can also ensure that you are using the right concentration of whitening formula.
Whitening treatments help to reduce existing stains, but through consumption of coffee, soft drinks, or through natural ageing, your teeth may become discoloured again. Maintenance whitening at home can help combat recurring discolouration.
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However, if you are experiencing significant bleeding that won’t stop, severe pain that is not helped by painkillers, or significant facial trauma, visit your local A&E department right away. Out of hours, you can also call NHS 111 for further medical advice.