There’s no doubt that the influence of celebrities with fabulous looking teeth has contributed to a vast increase in the number of people investing in teeth whitening treatment. But which option is best for getting the results you want? Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about the different teeth whitening treatments available:
Off the shelf whitening gel
In a lot of supermarkets and beauty stores you can now find at-home teeth whitening gel. It’s much cheaper than anything you can have done at the dentist and there is an important reason for this. Due to GDC regulations, these products contain less than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide (which is the active whitening ingredient) so the results will tend to be much less effective giving a minimal lift, if any. The NHS warns against using these products as you can experience pain or discomfort if the whitening gel leaks and comes into contact with your gums. Consult your dentist as soon as possible if this kind of problem occurs.
Dentist-prescribed whitening gel
If you go to your dentist, you can get custom-made trays for teeth whitening at home. The dentist will check that your teeth are suitable for whitening and will talk you through everything you need to know about at-home whitening. Because the trays are customised for your teeth, it means that they will fit properly so there is much less risk of leaking. It also means that the whitening gel can contain considerably more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide. This treatment can take 2 to 4 weeks depending on the staining of teeth and the strength of the whitening gel. However, the results can be fantastic, long lasting, and give a great lift in colour, which is why we often recommend this treatment at Fresh Dental Smile Clinic.
Teeth whitening treatments at the dentist’s clinic
You will see the quickest results if you get teeth whitening done at the dentist’s. Your dentist will do an initial assessment of your teeth to make sure they are healthy and suitable for the whitening process. One of the main brands of this treatment is called The Zoom, and involves having bleaching gel on your teeth and then using an LED light to activate the gel quickly. This type of teeth whitening claims to whiten teeth up to eight shades in one hour. Your gums are protected during this process and the dentist can talk to you afterwards about the best way to take care of your new, whiter teeth.
Whichever method you use, be sure to maintain good oral hygiene practices to keep your teeth looking white. Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and try and avoid food and drinks which stain your teeth such as tea, coffee and red wine.
Dr Jenny Kabir is the clinical director of Fresh Dental Smile Clinic in York, an award winning surgery. Jenny runs the practice in order to provide patients with outstanding treatment, service and care. She attended Bristol University for her postgraduate diploma and also studied for a further three years in cosmetic, restorative and implant dentistry. Dr Kabir was also selected to be one of the dentists for both the Manchester 2001 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 Olympic Games.