Teeth whitening: The options

While everyone dreams of a Hollywood smile, very few people have naturally bright, white teeth. Your teeth change colour as you get older and are heavily influenced by your lifestyle choices, such as what you eat and drink, or certain types of prescription medication. 

Types of teeth whitening

Your smile is unique to you, and Portman Dental Care clinicians understand that your reasons for teeth whitening will be personal too. Our dentists will expertly assess your teeth to make sure they are suitable for a whitening treatment before talking you through the options and making their recommendation. There is more than one way to whiten your teeth and our clinicians offer both in-chair whitening and whitening treatments for you to use at home. 

In-surgery teeth whitening

In-chair whitening changes the natural colour of your teeth by applying a bleaching agent to the surface before subjecting it to a special light that lifts the shade of your teeth. A whitening agent is then applied directly to your teeth and may be placed under the light. Over a period of around 15 minutes or so, your teeth will get lighter, shade by shade (this is how dentists reference the exact colour of your teeth) and usually three to four, 15-minute sessions in one visit are used to get the change you need.

Your dentist will protect your gums and mouth tissue using a special gel, and protective glasses will be provided so that you are as comfortable as possible - you may even be able to take this opportunity to listen to your choice of music. Once completed and all the whitening agents have been washed off, your whiter smile will be revealed. The results are immediate and laser treatments can make your teeth five or six shades whiter, depending on their original shade.  

Home whitening

For a more flexible option at a time to suit you, your dentist can also provide a whitening treatment to use at home and the treatment course is tailored to your unique smile and teeth shade. First an impression of your teeth and jaw is taken, in surgery, to custom-make a mouthguard that will be crucial to your at-home whitening kit. Then, from the comfort of your home - and when it suits your schedule - you can begin the process of whitening your teeth. It is a simple procedure that involves applying a gel to your teeth with the mouthguard making sure that the whitening gel is evenly distributed and safely transforming the colour of your teeth.

This is a treatment that requires multiple applications, but the ease of having the tools at home, as well as the expert advice from your dentist, means that it is much easier to fit in and around your life.   

Laser ‘power’ whitening

In some practices, there is now laser whitening or ‘power whitening'. During this treatment, a reactive chemical is placed on the teeth and a targeted light, or laser, is shone on the teeth to activate the chemical. The light appears to speed up the chemical reaction of the whitening product and the shade change can be achieved faster than traditional in-chair whitening. Laser whitening can make teeth up to five or six shades lighter and usually takes about an hour - you must be seen by a qualified dentist before starting treatment.

Air polishing – a first step?

Before taking the step to whiten, did you know that visiting your hygienist can help you to get your teeth gleaming without the need for whitening with cleaning, polishing and stain removal. In particular, stain removal with air polishing can make a real difference and is like a jet wash for your teeth.  It works by removing superficial stains caused by everyday eating and drinking and will improve the colour of your teeth, remove stains, and results can be seen immediately where available. 

Choose a Portman Dental Care practice for teeth whitening

Our dentists are on hand to help you achieve a whiter smile, safely, and with a treatment course that suits you. Teeth whitening can only be carried out by or under the supervision of a dentist, with whitening kiosks now illegal, alongside whitening by a beautician. Only a dentist is able to properly examine your teeth to see whether whitening is appropriate, and to make sure that it is done safely without damaging your teeth or other parts of your mouth, such as your gums. 

If you’d like to learn more about the whitening options, find your local practice here.  

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