Tooth discolouration can be caused by 3 main factors; Extrinsic staining; caused from food beverages and tobacco. Intrinsic staining; within the tooth that makes them appear grey, causes include certain medication, tooth decay, tooth trauma, too much fluoride and genetics. Ageing; as we age we brush away the enamel on the outside of the tooth causing the dentin within the tooth to shine through causing the teeth to look yellow. Cosmetic whitening is best for reversing the extrinsic factors of discolouration.
Avoiding staining foods and some medications will help prevent teeth from further discolouration and of course, if the discolouration is caused by an underlying dental issue, this will need to be addressed prior to whitening.
Not everyone is suitable for whitening treatments. If you have an oral health condition such as tooth decay or gum disease, this should be treated as a priority before arranging a cosmetic treatment. You may also not be eligible if you have sensitive teeth or gums, a medical condition, you're pregnant or you're under 16 years of age.
A full treatment takes approximately 1.5 hours to complete. After a consultation with your Whitening Clinic technician you will be taken to a comfortable reclining lounge and gum protector will be applied to protect the gums from the Hydrogen Peroxide (HP) gel. Once this is set by a curing light the HP (6%) is applied to the teeth. The HP is activated by a LED blue light which is set for 3 x 25 minute intervals to allow additional HP to be added to the teeth during the process. Once complete, the gel is removed from the teeth, you will rinse with water and the treatment is complete. It must be remembered that bleaching teeth is like bleaching hair. The first time you bleach hair from dark brown/black to blonde, the process takes time to break through the barrier. This is the same process with teeth. At the Whitening Clinic we recommend two treatments for first time whiteners to ensure a great result.
Some people find that their teeth and gums feel more sensitive for a few days after teeth whitening, especially during in-chair treatments at a dentist. At The Whitening Clinic we use a low level of peroxide ( 6% Hydrogen Peroxide ) applied for a longer period (1.5 hrs) which cause little to no sensitivity in most clients. Generally the only clients who experience sensitivity are those who have recently had braces removed. Practicing dentists use 35% Hydrogen Peroxide over a shorter period of time in the chair, causing greater sensitivity in clients. If a whitening treatment isn't performed correctly, you could risk injury or uneven results. If the bleaching agent comes into contact with your gums or other soft tissues in your mouth, there may be a risk of chemical burns.
Generally, it’s best for pregnant women and new mothers to avoid teeth whitening - chemicals from the treatment can enter the placenta and breast milk.
It’s best to have realistic expectations before undergoing any whitening treatment. After consultation with your technician they will be able to explain what you can expect.
Not all whitening treatments are equally effective on all people, and not all teeth will whiten to the same degree. Teeth whitening can change a tooth's colour by several shades, meaning teeth that are more stained or discoloured won't whiten to the same degree as teeth that were whiter originally.
Teeth whitening is a great way to prepare for weddings and other social events where you want to look your best. At the Whitening Clinic we recommend you have your whitening treatment at least one week prior to your event date to ensure any patchiness that whitening can produce is resolved.
Teeth whitening isn't permanent, but how long the effects last will depend on the type of treatment you have and how well you look after your teeth afterwards.
In most cases, teeth whitening can last from six months up to two years. There's more chance of your teeth staying whiter for longer if you avoid smoking and staining food and drinks such as tea, coffee and beetroot. The first time you have your teeth whitened however, you can loose up to 40% of the whiteness within four to six weeks, this is why two consecutive treatments are initially recommended.
Teeth whitening specifically works on tooth enamel. It doesn't change the colour of dental work such as crowns and bridges, veneers or fillings, although it may lift stains from their surfaces.
If you have dental restorations like crowns or veneers, they’ll probably have been matched to the natural colour of your teeth. That means they may stand out in your mouth after teeth whitening. Once you have completed your whitening procedure your dentist can replace any existing restorations to match your new whiter teeth if needed.
It is recommended to wait until you complete your orthodontic treatment to have a tooth whitening procedure. But if you don't want to wait, it's still possible to whiten your teeth when braces are in place – it can just be more difficult and produce less even results.
When your braces are removed, the areas beneath might look darker or more yellow than the rest of your teeth, so you may want to arrange a touch-up treatment to help even things out.
It is advisable that for 48 hours after undergoing your teeth whitening treatment you avoid consuming dark-colored and staining foods. This is because the pores of the teeth are opened and the colour particles can trap inside and diminish the results of the whitening procedure. By avoiding these foods, you can maintain the brightness and longevity of their teeth whitening treatment, ensuring a brighter smile for an extended period of time.
FOODS TO AVOID:
- Dark-colored beverages: Coffee, tea, red wine, dark soft drinks
- Acidic foods and drinks: Citrus fruits, juices, lemonade, sports drinks
- Dark-colored sauces: Tomato sauce, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar
- Berries: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries
- Coloured lollies and ice cream
- Tobacco products: Smoking, vaping, chewing tobacco
- Highly pigmented foods: Beets, dark sauces, curry, food dyes
- Carbonated beverages: Soft drink, carbonated drinks
- Hard and crunchy foods: Nuts, popcorn, hard candies
FOODS TO EAT
- Plain water
- White milk
- Plain yogurt
- White cheese
- Skinless white meat (chicken, turkey)
- White fishWhite rice
- Potatoes (without dark-colored sauces)
- White bread
- Skinless chicken breast
- Steamed or boiled vegetables (avoid highly pigmented ones)
- Plain pasta or noodles
- Eggs (without dark-colored sauces or fillings)
- Colorless soups (e.g., chicken broth)