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What you need to know about professional tooth whitening

Have a summer ready whiter smile

Published: 12 June 2024

Tooth whitening can be a great way to boost your confidence if your teeth have become dull and no longer white. Many people are keen to have a whiter smile, but if you are looking for a bit of a refresh this summer, it’s essential to ensure you receive the safest as well as the most effective treatment.


Why do teeth become dull?

There are multiple factors that can cause your teeth to lose their whiteness; staining and discolouration caused by food and drinks, poor dental hygiene, smoking along with your general health and some medications can all play a role in making your teeth appear stained. Age can play a part too in the colour of your teeth changing.


Care at home

As ever, your dentist will advise you how to take really good care of your oral hygiene for whiter teeth. This includes daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth with floss, a special interdental brush or a water flosser.

Choosing a whitening toothpaste can be helpful in keeping your teeth brighter too. Ask your dentist what they recommend.


Professional treatments

Having your teeth professionally cleaned can work wonders on stains and discolouration on the teeth. Talking about what you want to achieve can also help you understand your treatment options, and also the steps involved.

Most teeth whitening treatment involves a combination of at-home and in-practice sessions. Your dentist would provide a custom-fitted whitening tray, into which you would place the whitening gel and then wear it over night for two weeks. This would typically be followed up with an in-practice session to lock in that whiter, fresher new shade. Results can last several months with proper care and you can top up whenever needed.

Other treatment options include laser whitening, where a bleaching product is painted on the teeth, and then treated with a strong light. This process can take about an hour. Although this treatment tends to be more costly than conventional bleaching treatments, its relative speed can be appealing. However, the treatment may not be suitable for all patients, and it can require a few sessions to be effective.


Notes of caution – unregulated treatments

It is illegal for beauty salons to offer tooth whitening treatment without a registered dentist present. This is to protect patients from potentially dangerous application of bleaching agents and misapplications of the product. It’s also necessary to be wary of over-the-counter solutions as there are several unregulated and untested products available. If substances are applied to the teeth without professional care, they can irritate the delicate surfaces of the mouth and damage your teeth. Whitening trays that haven’t been professionally fitted can also leak bleaching agent, risking burns in your mouth.

If you are considering using a home whitening kit, talk to your dentist first. Some over-the-counter treatments are manufactured in countries that don’t have the same regulations as in the UK. Strong chemicals used in some home kits can cause permanent damage to your tooth enamel. Once lost, enamel can’t be replaced naturally, so it’s important to be cautious and take professional advice.


Speak to your dentist

If you’re unhappy with the colour of your teeth, it’s important to discuss options with your dentist. They can ensure your progress towards a brighter smile is totally safe as well as effective.

To book your next appointment, contact your local Clyde Munro Dental practice.

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