What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening refers to the process of bleaching teeth in order to make them lighter. This does not necessarily mean that results will be brilliant white in colour, but rather that teeth will be lightened considerably, by several shades.
While there are home treatments for teeth whitening, and certain salons may offer the procedure, there are risks involved and the procedure should be performed by a dental professional. It can make a particular difference to those with yellow tones in their teeth, but not everyone is suited to teeth whitening (e.g. those with gum disease), and it doesn’t work on dentures, veneers, crowns, or fillings.
Who performs the teeth whitening procedure?
Teeth whitening is usually considered a cosmetic treatment and is done privately in most cases. Treatments and prices can vary. It is usually advisable to discuss a treatment plan and price estimate with the professional before committing to the procedure. Whitening is safe when carried out by a registered dental professional. In the UK only dentists or dental professionals (e.g. hygienists) can carry out teeth whitening. It is very rarely performed on the NHS, and only in cases where it is a medical treatment only, such as nerve death.
Can teeth whitening be done at home?
Whitening can also be done using home kits, but the percentage of hydrogen peroxide, the chemical used to whiten the teeth, does not come in such high doses in over-the-counter kits. Legally these kits cannot contain the same amount of hydrogen peroxide as treatments offered by dental professionals. Often home kits do not contain enough for the treatment to be effective.
How long do teeth whitening effects last?
The effects of teeth whitening are not permanent and can last from a number of months to around three years. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, or red wine can reduce the whitening effect or cause your teeth to stain again.