Creating lighter and brighter natural teeth has now become a routine dental treatment. There are several ways in which this can be provided without uncomfortable and damaging conventional “drill and fill” techniques. Tooth whitening and bleaching can only be carried out under supervision by a Dental Surgeon. There are several different methods and sometimes a combination of methods is necessary to achieve the desired result. All of these methods have been shown to be perfectly safe when used as instructed.
This is a method where under our supervision, the patient applies bleaching solutions to their own teeth using custom made trays over a period of a few weeks. These are most effectively worn overnight but can be used for longer periods during the day or evening. We record the starting shades and provide all the necessary materials and equipment to ensure successful results. The darker the teeth, the longer it will take to achieve the desired result. Improvements of at least a couple of shades are always possible with correct compliance! Home bleaching frequently causes or increases sensitivity to hot, cold and biting, although this is usually transient and is easily dealt with, but this technique may not be suitable for everybody. It is recognised that results last into the longer term but some discolouration will occur with ageing and with food and drink, although this is easily dealt with!
With this technique, bleaching is carried out in the surgery. It is much more rapid but is more costly because of the extended surgery time. Special barriers need to be placed over the gums and lips to protect the soft tissues before strong solutions are applied to the teeth. The results can be very quick and the technique is very useful when an important occasion arises at short notice!
Individual root-filled teeth that have discoloured can lighten with this technique. Several visits may be required and although an improvement is always expected this may not be complete where the tooth root has become very dark.
Microabrasion is used to remove white and brown developmental marks on the enamel surface of teeth. These can become exaggerated and more noticeable after bleaching. Marks are removed with the use of chemicals and very fine abrasive polishes.
Replacement of restorations
It may be necessary to replace individual restorations that will not change colour with any bleaching technique. Crowns and bridges will not change at all and older stained fillings may also need to be renewed. Decay under restorations must be removed.