Tooth whitening….your questions answered

There are essentially 2 ways of making the teeth whiter without covering the teeth permanently or painting them.
  1. Removing stains and debris.
  2. Lightening the teeth with peroxides.
Toothpastes Now, most whitening toothpastes will lighten the teeth better than your standard toothpastes, due to their enhanced ability to removed stains.  They do however have courser particles in the paste and so I have found in some cases, that used all the time, some people get more wear to their teeth and this can cause sensitivity. Their ability to lighten the teeth chemically is limited due to licensing laws in the UK restricting concentrations of the chemicals. The best way to reduce staining of the teeth, is to reduce the amount of red wine, coffee and tea that you drink. If you love these things and the stain builds up then whitening toothpastes may be helpful. Most people do not put enough toothpaste on their brush. Use the paste as a polish and if you have stubborn stains to removed, then use more paste and gently work it against the teeth, rather than scrubbing with your brush, which can cause wear. Over the counter tooth whitening There a number of products available and I am not going to judge any particular one of them.  You can apply whitening gel to the teeth in a variety of ways and the chemical process will lighten the teeth.  But yet again, the concentrations are weaker and so although they will have an effect, it won’t be the most effective way of whitening. But it may be worth trying if you are looking to lighten your teeth a small amount. Whitening at your dentist At this time, according to the General Dental Council, the only people in this country that can legally whiten your teeth, are dentists registered with the GDC.  If you are tempted to reduce costs and have your teeth whitened in a non-dental environment, you need to ask yourself:
  • Do these people know that I am suitable for whitening?
  • Do they know what chemicals they are using and what they are doing to my teeth? (and people do use a whole variety of non-licensed products)
  • What happens if it goes wrong?
I do recommend asking your dentist for assistance with whitening.  I would say that wouldn’t I. But if you want a professional result, ask a professional. For more details on what is involved with tooth whitening, go to our treatments section and click on tooth whitening, or paste this address into your browser.