There are many ways of teeth whitening ranging from in-surgery power whitening to at-home whitening, where a custom made tray is used to deliver the whitening agent to the teeth. Other forms of home whitening involve stock trays or plaster like applicators placed on the teeth and moulded into place using finger pressure. In addition to these over the counter preparations, lipstick style pen applicators are used to paint the whitening agent on the individual teeth which dries quickly to leave a residue which whitens the teeth until it is removed and broken down by saliva in the mouth.
Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes
Many toothpastes and mouthrinses also claim a whitening effect but these achieve an improvement in tooth colour not by bleaching the teeth whiter but by removing superficial surface stains caused by dietary chromogens such as tea coffee and red wine.
Dentist teeth whitening
In surgery power bleaching techniques involve the application of a concentrated bleaching agent such as Hydrogen peroxide over the teeth after initially isolating the gums, lips and oral mucosa with a protective dam. The bleaching agent is activated for periods of 10, 15 or 20 minutes depending on the strength of the bleaching agent using various methods such as Diode Lasers, Zoom and Britesmile lights as well as an array of LED and dental curing lights. The single application is known as a bleaching pass and successful whitening usually involves at least 3 bleaching passes.
The use of Lasers and Zoom lights is probably the best known amongst this group due to popular makeover programmes on national TV but in reality all the power bleaching systems are very similar in their results as it is the actual strength of the bleaching agent and the time it is applied for that is more important. Whitening spas sprang up throughout the UK including at shopping centres and beauty salons, who jumped on the bandwagon claiming to be professionally trained but in fact far from been trained were dangerous to the public at large due to their inability to examine the state of the mouth before applying dangerously high and caustic bleaching agents. It is also worthwhile knowing that it is illegal in the UK for anyone to carry out such procedures except the dental profession.
Teeth whitening at home
Dentist monitored home whitening involves the making of close fitting soft custom trays and the application of a whitening agent inside them before the patient wears them for periods ranging from 30 minutes a day or overnight while asleep. The bleaching agent can be either Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide with the former been used as a day whitening agent while the later can be used either during the day or overnight.
Over the counter preparations that are either painted on the teeth or finger moulded into place are popular on the internet but in reality are not as good as the in-surgery or dentist monitored whitening agents. However they do offer patients a quick fix, so to speak, if they do not have the time to visit their dentist. A word of caution on this quick fix and the use of these preparations is that some products sold on the internet are damaging to your teeth and there are certain undiagnosed dental problems within your mouth that are greatly exacerbated by applying bleaching agents on them.
Professional Teeth Whitening or Home Teeth Whitening
As individuals we all prefer certain ways to achieve our goals. Some may prefer passing the responsibility of whitening their teeth to their dentist and just sit back in the chair for an hour or so and leave with whiter teeth while others do not mind the wearing of custom made trays overnight for a couple of weeks to achieve the same results.
Here at Merton Dental we look at each patient and assess their whitening needs depending on the shade of the teeth and the life style of the patient before recommending what best works for them. The final outcome is always great looking Cleaner Whiter Brighter Teeth.