Is Tooth Whitening Safe?
Tooth whitening is completely safe, provided it is carried out by a dental professional (Dentist, Dental Hygienist or Dental Therapist). The General Dental Council takes tooth whitening seriously and considers tooth whitening to be illegal if not carried out by a dental professional registered with them.
The process of Tooth Whitening
The dentist will first assess your dentally fit to proceed with tooth whitening. Then will write a prescription on your clinical notes. This prescription is unique to you and will last 1 year. Then they can refer you to our Dental Therapists to take some alginate impressions or a 3D scan of your teeth. These are then sent in the post or via email link to a Dental Technician who will then make some custom fit whitening trays. These usually take 1-2 weeks to be returned to us.. Then your dental professional will check the fit of the trays and show you how much whitening gel to put in the trays and how long to wear them for. Before and after photos will be taken so you can see how much improvement there has been.
The science behind Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening works by using dental whitening gels containing Hydrogen Peroxide (daytime gel) or Carbamide Peroxide (nighttime gel).
Day Time gel – 6% Hydrogen Peroxide (Worn for 30min to 1 hour per day)
Hydrogen Peroxide breaks down into water and an oxygen free radical called Perhydroxl.
Perhydroxyl will enter the tooth enamel and dentine and break down large organic molecules responsible for tooth staining and discolouration.
In conclusion, the oxygen radicals will whiten the tooth by simply eliminating the stain molecules.
Night Time Gel – 10% Carbamide Peroxide (Worn 3-5 hours or overnight)
Carbamide Peroxide takes longer because it must break down into Hydrogen Peroxide first.
Both produce equally brilliant results. The Carbamide Peroxide gel was designed to be used at night time for patients with busy lifestyles that may not have 1 hour in the day to wear the tooth whitening trays.
All persons wanting to do tooth whitening should be 18 years +
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not whiten.
Tooth coloured fillings and crowns will not whiten.
Tooth decay and any gum inflammation or gum disease must be treated first.
You may experience some tooth sensitivity during whitening treatment. Sensodyne Repair and Protect or Colgate Sensitive Pro relief toothpaste can help to relieve this.
On occasion, the whitening gel may go onto your gum or soft tissues and you may experience some minor irritation or tingly sensation. If this happens, we advise wiping away the excess gel immediately with a tissue or cotton bud. It will not cause long lasting damage and should feel better within a few hours.
Other whitening Options
Opalescence Go are prefilled whitening trays. This is an alternative to the custom fit whitening trays discussed above. No moulds are required of your teeth, so there is no wait time to get started on the whitening process.
Simply unpackage, position the tray on the teeth, bite down and suck inwards to mould the tray to the teeth. Remove the outer tray and wear it for 1 hour a day using 10% hydrogen peroxide or 20 minutes a day using 15min. The overall process will last 5-10 days.
This whitening method is suited to somebody who wants instant brightness ready for a special occasion.
Before and After Photos
If you wish to speak with our team to book an appointment, please contact us on 01264 301301.
By Lauren Pink BSc (Hons) Dental Hygiene and Therapy