If someone visits a cosmetic dentist in Harley Street, they may well be interested in having their teeth whitened. Most people prefer their teeth to look natural, but the obsession with celebrities and perfection has created a demand among people both in and out of the public eye for ultra-dazzling smiles.
What techniques are involved?
The most common technique for whitening teeth is known as professional bleaching. Before starting the treatment, the gums are protected by a rubber shield or the application of a gel. The whitening product – usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide – is applied to the teeth using a special tray that fits over the teeth like a mouth-guard. While the dentist carries out this first stage, the rest of the treatment is undertaken by the patient themselves at home over a period of several weeks.
Another technique is ‘power whitening’, also known as laser whitening. As with the previous technique, the gums are first protected before the bleaching product is applied. In this case, it is painted onto the teeth and a laser is shone onto it, activating the chemical in the bleaching product. Laser whitening can make some teeth up to six shades lighter. This technique is particularly popular as it only takes an hour and the dentist does all the work.
How long does it last?
Teeth whitening can last up to three years. However, as with other cosmetic treatments, this is only as long as the patient is careful. Teeth often become discoloured from drinking lots of coffee or red wine. So, if patients continue to drink lots of coffee and red wine after the treatment it won’t be long before they are back at the dentists asking for further whitening. Patients are also advised to cut down on sugary food and drinks, stop smoking and avoid consuming anything that is likely to stain the teeth.
Tooth whitening is great for lightening and brightening natural teeth. However, patients with dentures, dental implants, crowns and veneers will not be able to receive this treatment. The only way to whiten artificial teeth like these when they become discoloured, is to ask the dental team to clean them.