As the market for cosmetic dentistry grows, dentists are now able to recommend a variety of products and treatments that are non-essential. One of the big areas for growth is teeth whitening. There are now numerous ways that you can whiten your teeth – from home kits to laser whitening – to ensure that you teeth look better and to ensure that your smile shines brighter.
The plethora of products and treatments available means that many patients can be confused. In the first instance, it is always best to speak to your dentist and find out what they recommend. This fact sheet can act as a preparation for that initial meeting, giving you a broad idea of what is available and what might be suitable for you.
Why is teeth whitening becoming so popular?
Teeth whitening is becoming more and more popular as more people realise just what an effect their teeth have on their overall appearance. As we grow older, teeth become stained as tartar and plaque build up. Now, with new products on the market, people have the opportunity to refresh the whiteness of their teeth, in much the same way that they dye their hair to improve their appearance.
What teeth whitening treatments are available?
There are currently a number of treatments available. The most commonly recommended and used by dentists is a form of bleaching. Your dentist will create a mould to fit your teeth, which you can use to apply the whitening compound. You must wear the mould for around 30 minutes every day – you continue the treatment yourself at home – and it can take up to a month to see the best results.
Home Whitening Kits are used in a similar way. However, they are often not as powerful (or as expensive) as the treatments available through your dentist so you may not see your teeth whiten as much.
The latest treatment on the market is laser whitening. This has the benefit of requiring only one appointment and you can see the difference virtually immediately. It still relies on a bleaching agent which is applied directly to the teeth, but the laser speeds up the bleaching process.
What questions should I ask my dentist?
Often, the key to how successful teeth whitening will be is what your teeth are currently like. If you have any tooth decay (you may have some mild decay which is not causing you any pain yet), then this would usually need to be treated prior to any whitening treatment.
This is the main reason why you should always consult your dentist prior to embarking on any course of treatment. They will be able to ensure that you teeth are in tip-top condition so that the cost of any cosmetic treatment will be a good investment. Most teeth whitening processes will last up to three years – therefore, it is also a good idea to ask your dentist about how you can successfully maintain your white teeth too. Your dentist may be able to recommend a whitening toothpaste or a change to your diet, which could help.