Teeth Whitening FAQ With Dr Aodhan

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Q.Why do teeth stain?

A. Teeth pick up stains from certain foods and drinks in our diet, including; coffee, tea, red wine and smoking just to name a few. These stains have dark pigments which embed themselves inside the teeth and also on the surface, giving a discoloured appearance.

Q. How can I remove stains and brighten up my smile?

A. Removing surface stains from the of teeth is possible with a combination of home oral hygiene and a thorough hygiene visit with your dentist where both plaque and tarter are removed. Stains which are deeperinside the tooth cannot be removed by hygiene and require methods such as teeth whitening to rid these stubborn stains.

Q.What is teeth whitening?

A. Whitening safely removes stains and discolorations from the inner layers of teeth by getting rid of the dark pigments, leaving teeth bright and white. The keys to effective teeth whitening is firstly, the length of time that the whitening agent has in contact with teeth and secondly the concentration of whitening agent.

Q.Are there different types of teeth whitening?

A. Yes. Treatments vary from whitening strips and toothpastes, to those that are tailored specifically to your individual teeth. Toothpastes and strips can work for some patients, but are usually limited in effectiveness because they don’t contain as much of the active ingredient needed for a good result and they are in contact with teeth for an incredibly short time. Dentist delivered teeth whitening differs in that it’s of a higher concentration of active ingredient and is in contact with teeth for considerably longer. “Take-home” kits are specifically made to fit your teeth hence the active ingredient doesn’t get diluted by your saliva as it does with ‘one-size-fits-all’ methods such as strips. Dentists also can provide “in-chair” treatments which take about an hour and give a truly brilliant result.

Q.Is it safe?

A. It is safe when delivered by a dentist. It’s important to remember that while the latest technology in tooth whitening makes it a very simple procedure for the patient, that it’s still a medical procedure and as such needs to be provided by a trained professional, to minimise the chance of sensitivity and gum damage afterwards. Our doctors are experts in using our products in a safe manner and tailor treatment to each individual – there is truly no’one size fits all’ approach.

Q. I have sensitive teeth and gums, does whitening hurt?

A. Around 50% of people experience some level of transient sensitivity from whitening. The good news is that for the vast majority this is mild and lasts only a few hours! To minimise sensitivity our approach to whitening is case by case and we tailor the treatment by using desensitizing liquids and toothpastes and customizing the regime to the patient’s lifestyle. This is what sets us apart from other whitening providers.

Q. Will whitening damage my teeth?

A. Teeth whitening does not injure or damage tooth structure eg. enamel. This is because it is being delivered by a dentist who has been trained to decide on the appropriate concentration of whitening agent and duration of application. Furthermore, the literature indicates that there is absolutely no potential for damage to tooth structure in such conditions.

Q.How long does whitening last?

A. Once whitened, your teeth will never return to the colour they were before the treatment. This is because it has taken decades for these stains to embed themselves in your teeth and after a course of whitening these stains are no longer present. Lifestyle factors such as smoking, and consuming foods or drinks that stain teeth like coffee, tea and red wine may affect the colour of your teeth – but simple and cost effective “top up” treatments are encourages yearly or bi-yearly to make sure that your brilliant smile lasts a lifetime! I hope this article answers your questions. You can always call our friendly Receptionists and find out more on (02) 9415 3555