Tooth Whitening FAQ

Everyone likes to have a nice smile, it’s one of the things people remember about us. Having a smile you are confident with can go a long way towards helping you feel good about yourself and how others see you.
There’s a whole industry that’s built up around making people’s smiles look like the Hollywood A-listers and like any type of cosmetic procedure, you need to think carefully about the pros and cons before you go ahead.
While some of the ” smile makeovers ” we do involve lots of expensive treatment, tooth whitening or “bleaching” your teeth can be a superb, harmless, cost effective way of improving your smile.
There are many products you can buy over the counter that promise to whiten your teeth. Unfortunately, it’s only those that dentists can supply that will guarantee a real difference in the whiteness of your teeth, a difference that you and your friends and family will notice.
At Riverside in Braunton we have over ten years experience in tooth whitening, here are a few answers to the questions we get asked most often…

What is Bleaching?

Bleaching is a method of whitening the colour of your natural teeth without damaging them. It will significantly increase the brightness of your smile. The best method uses carbamide peroxide and is no more dangerous than bleaching your hair.

How does it work?

There are two types of bleaching systems, the “tray” method and the “in office” method, sometimes known as laser whitening. Both use peroxide chemicals similar to those used to lighten hair.

The laser method, which many of you will have seen on tv programmes, works more quickly but is a more unpleasant treatment for the patient and usually leaves teeth more sensitive. There is also growing evidence that its effects don’t last.
At Riverside in Braunton we offer the tray method because we believe it offers great results and is kinder to the teeth. It also gives us much more control over how white the teeth go, not everyone wants a Hollywood white smile and just a few shades lighter can look much more natural for some people. The system we use is called ‘white’ and it has proven very successful over the past 7 years.
After an initial consultation we take moulds of your teeth and construct thin flexible “gum shields” which are filled with bleach gel and worn overnight (or for at least 3 hours during the day). This is repeated daily or every other day until your teeth reach the required colour. It usually takes a couple of weeks.

Will it work for me?

Bleaching will work for everyone but the size of the effect will vary depending on the colour of your teeth to start with and how many nights you bleach for.

Bleaching will not affect the colour of crowns, veneers or fillings so if you have any of these visible at the front of your mouth you may need to consider other treatment of these teeth as well to give the desired overall effect. Your dentist will advise you if this is the case and discuss what other treatment may be needed to give the improvement you want.

Is it safe?

If carried out by a dental professional it is safe. There is no evidence of longterm harm to the teeth.

Many people will experience some sensitivity to hot and cold and perhaps some soreness of the gums while they are completing the bleaching process. This will disappear when the process is complete.

Does it last?

The effects will dull off slightly with time but the teeth will not go back to their original colour. People who smoke, drink excessive amounts of tea or coffee or red wine will pick up more stain which has an effect too. Seeing a hygienist regularly will help preserve the effects.

We also recommend that you “top up” the effect from time to time to preserve the whiter colour you have achieved. Often patients will have some bleaching gel from the original kit left over to use. More gel can be purchased from us for a small fee.

For more information about us and how well we can look after your teeth, call us on 01271 813721