In this informative guide for patients, highly respected dental practitioner and facial aesthetics clinician Dr Anne Gormley shares her expert insight on the various approaches to teeth whitening available. The leading specialist also offers guidance on maintaining the results of teeth whitening, safety and patients who may be unsuitable for treatments of this type.
What are the different options available for teeth whitening?
Laser teeth whitening
This type of treatment is not the preferred option as it mainly dehydrates the teeth and does not produce sustainable results. Most clinicians that use this type of treatment also use at-home tooth whitening and it is thought that is what predominantly produces the lasting results.
The results from this type of treatment are no better that the results obtained from at-home bleaching and are more likely to cause sensitivity. The patient is not in control of the final colour achieved and the treatment is time consuming for the clinician.
This is still the gold standard treatment for teeth whitening, using customised bleaching trays and ten per cent carbamide peroxide. Sixteen per cent carbamide and six per cent hydrogen peroxide are also available for particular cases but it is thought that ten per cent carbamide peroxide produces the most long lasting results.
In summary, ten per cent carbamide peroxide is generally considered the most effective method.
Can whitening damage my teeth?
Teeth whitening has been carried out in dental practice for many years and it does not appear to cause any damage to the teeth.
How can I maintain the results after getting my teeth whitened?
In order to keep your teeth bright after teeth whitening treatment, I would recommend avoiding food substances that might stain the teeth. In addition, it is possible to top up the result before a special occasion by using the ten per cent carbamide peroxide in your customised tray for a couple of nights prior to the event to turbocharge your smile. A scale and polish from your dentist will also set off your bright smile.
Is there anyone that shouldn’t get their teeth whitened?
Patients who have experienced tetracycline staining due to taking tetracycline drugs need to be advised that teeth whitening will either not work or will produce a banded appearance. In these cases, it is therefore strongly advised not to carry out tooth whitening.
Fluorosis, or fluoride mottling, can also produce unpredictable results and it would be very important to explain to the patient that it may be necessary to carry out restorative work using composite materials to mask the mottled appearance. The fluorosis is likely to appear more fluorescent that the unaffected portion of the teeth.
If you are interested in undergoing teeth whitening treatment and wish to schedule a consultation with Dr Gormley, you can do so by visiting her Top Doctors profile.