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Teeth Whitening

by on August 26, 2014 | Posted in Ask The Dentist, dental

More and more people are paying for brighter, whiter teeth. But does teeth whitening work and is it safe? Here are the answers to common questions about the treatment.

Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. Teeth whitening can’t make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several shades.

 

Who can perform teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be performed by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental therapist, on the prescription of a dentist.

Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening, but this is illegal if there’s no dental professional present, and it may put your oral health at risk.

You can also buy DIY home teeth whitening kits but these may also carry risks.

 

What happens during teeth whitening at the dentist?

If you have teeth whitening you will need to make several visits to the dental surgery over a couple of months.

The dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a mouthguard and will instruct you how to use it with a bleaching gel. Then, using your mouthguard at home, you regularly apply the gel for a specified period of time over two to four weeks. Some whitening gels can be left on for up to eight hours at a time, which shortens the treatment period to one week.

Another type of teeth whitening system that a dentist can provide is called laser whitening, which is also known as power whitening. This is where a bleaching product is painted onto your teeth and then a light or laser is shone on them to activate the whitening. Laser whitening takes about an hour.

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People often expect dental care to be expensive, but if you’re well prepared and plan for any work that may need doing in the future, you can avoid any unnecessary cost! Our dental payment options can help not only your smile, but your bank balance too. You can find out more details below…

 

Can you offer any dental plans to help with payment of treatment?

Yes. We can arrange to collect payment at every visit; this will be an amount which will be equally divided across your dental visits so that by the end of your treatment the payment will be complete at 0% interest

 

Are there any dental schemes?

Yes. We offer our bespoke insurance plan – DPAS. This has four different grades of fees that will be paid monthly ranging from £10.30 to £31.99; your grade will be decided by your prescribing dentist.

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Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, causing the tiny tube surfaces to be exposed, pain can be caused by eating or drinking foods or hot or cold beverages, touching your teeth, or exposing them to cold air.

Exposed areas of the tooth can cause pain and even affect or change your eating, drinking, and breathing habits. Taking a spoonful of ice cream, for example, can be a painful experience for people with sensitive teeth. The excessive consumption of acid-containing foods and beverages, such as citrus juices and fruits and soft drinks, can also put you at risk for tooth sensitivity. Bulimia and acid reflux can also result in erosion of the hard enamel and sensitivity due to acid in the mouth.

 

Is tooth sensitivity a common condition?

Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. At least 40 million adults in the United States suffer at some time from sensitive teeth.

 

How can I avoid sensitivity?

Some toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that may be too harsh for people who have sensitive teeth. Ingredients found in some whitening toothpastes that lighten and/or remove certain stains from enamel and sodium pyrophosphate, the key ingredient in tartar-control toothpaste, may increase tooth sensitivity.

 

What can I do about sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitizing toothpaste; having your dentist apply sealants and other desensitizing and filling materials, including fluoride; and decreasing the intake of acid-containing foods. Using tartar-control toothpaste will sometimes cause teeth to be sensitive as well as drinking soft drinks throughout the day, so these habits should be avoided.

Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes and brushing your teeth too hard, which can wear down the tooth’s surface and expose sensitive spots. The way to find out if you’re brushing your teeth too hard is to take a good look at your toothbrush. If the bristles are pointing in multiple directions, you’re brushing too hard.

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We all should know that some foods are worse for our teeth than others… but do you know which foods?

 

Citrus fruit

Citrus fruits and juices – a rich source of vitamin C and other nutrients – are good for you in many ways, but not when it comes to your teeth. Grapefruit and lemon juice, in particular, are highly acidic and can erode tooth enamel over time. In a 2008 study that involved soaking pulled teeth in various citrus juices, those two caused the most damage. Orange juice caused the least.

OJ is less acidic, and many store-bought varieties are also fortified with teeth-friendly calcium and vitamin D.

 

Chewy Sweets

The stickier the toffee, the worse it tends to be for your teeth. Extra-chewy toffee – like caramel – stick to (and between) teeth for a long time, allowing the bacteria in our mouths to feast leisurely on the deposited sugar.

Sweets that are chewy, sugary, and acidic – a category that includes many “sour” varieties – deliver a “triple whammy” of negatives.

 

Fizzy Drinks

It’s no secret that drinking too many sugary sodas can breed cavities. What’s less well-known is that the acids found in carbonated soft drinks appear to harm teeth even more than the sugar. The upshot? Even sugar-free diet sodas like Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi – which both contain citric and phosphoric acid – can erode enamel if consumed in large doses.

If you can’t do without soda, your best bet is to drink it during a meal, rather than sipping it throughout the day. The food will help neutralise the acid, and the time of exposure to the acid is much shorter.

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