Teeth Whitening FAQs
Q How does tooth whitening work?
A Whitening gels contain compounds which break down to form oxygen molecules. These molecules enter your teeth, bleaching discolouration to make your teeth naturally whiter. Whitening only works on natural teeth and won’t change the colour of veneers or crowns. This is why we recommend whitening as the first step on your journey to a perfect smile if you want to change the colour of your teeth.
Q What result can I expect?
A Results vary from person to person, but we would expect your smile to be around five shades brighter than before whitening.
Q What will happen once I decide to have my teeth whitened?
A The first step is for us to assess you to make sure whitening is a suitable treatment for you. If there is a build-up of old tartar this will have to be removed to let the whitening gel get to work. We’ll take impressions and make a bespoke whitening tray just for you which will be ready a few days later. We’ll make sure it fits perfectly and give you instructions on how to use the gel and trays at home.
Q How long does it take?
A Home whitening takes 2 to 4 weeks. You can choose either to use a gel with a weaker concentration of gel which is used overnight or a stronger gel which is used for half an hour morning and evening. For some patients, an in-surgery power whitening session is useful to boost the effects of the gel.
Q How will I feel while my teeth are being whitened?
A Some people find that whitening makes their gums or teeth temporarily feel more sensitive. Using the weaker gel helps with this, and most patients find that using sensitive toothpaste solves the problem.
Q How long does it last?
A The effects can last up to three years, although this does vary from person to person. The results won’t last as long if you smoke or regularly consume food and drink which stain your teeth like red wine and cola. Good dental hygiene will also help the effects last longer.
Q How often can I have my teeth whitened?
A If you feel your teeth are getting stained again, you can go back to using the gel for a few days as a top-up. To keep your teeth white we recommend using the whitening tray for maintenance once a month.
Q Do I have to see a dentist to have my teeth whitened?
Q Yes. Only dentists (and dental professionals like dental therapists and dental hygienists acting under a dentist’s prescription) can carry out tooth whitening. It is now illegal for places like beauty salons to carry out whitening.
Q Is whitening at home safe?
A Home whitening is safe as long as you are using a whitening tray which has been fitted by a dentist and gels provided by a dentist. The fit of the tray is crucial as a poorly fitting tray can lead to the gel leaking and hurting your gums and mouth. The EU regulations on the strength of gel which can be used are strict and it is safest to use gel from a reliable source so you know exactly what it contains. Some gels available online contain either too much or too little of the whitening compounds or the wrong materials.