Best?? Well, best is very subjective; is teeth whitening Harley Street better one way than another because it’s the fastest? Or is the gradual whitening of home treatment over many months best, because of the subtle change? Really, it is about your goals and if you are looking to lighten all of your teeth or just adjust the shade of one.
Teeth whitening options
There was a time when the only options for whitening were in a dental clinic, but with tooth lightening kits at home, whitening your teeth has become more accessible. The at-home options have their pitfalls, so what you can expect from each type of treatment will be discussed.
The methods of teeth whitening can be divided into chemical bleaching and surface abrasion techniques. There are no approved at-home abrasion procedures, due to the high risk to tooth enamel.
Tooth abrasion and bleaching in the clinic
Abrasion removes staining that is adhered to the surface of the enamel. It is performed with a slow drill or ultrasonic cleaner and is compared to a very thorough scale and polish.
During abrasion, the goal is to remove the staining while leaving as much enamel as possible. This can be difficult and the different techniques and skills of the dental practitioner will become apparent.
The first step in tooth bleaching starts with the fitting of an oral dam, which prevents the patients from ingesting any of the hydrogen peroxide and shields the thin skin of the gum from chemical burns. A dental tray is attached to the patient’s teeth and is filled with a bleaching gel. The tray is then placed over the teeth for 15-20 minutes. The tooth shade immediately after bleaching is usually a few shades lighter than you would expect. This is due to temporary dehydration of the teeth which will darken over the next few hours as the teeth rehydrate.
There is a specialist form of bleaching commonly used to correct the darkening of a tooth after a root canal is performed. This involves the placing of the whitening solution directly onto the tooth which has had its root filled.
Tooth bleaching at home
Tooth bleaching at home is very similar to the treatment in the clinic, but over a much longer time frame.
The hydrogen-peroxide solution approved for at-home use is less than 1% of the concentration of an dental surgery preparation; this removes many of the hazards of using a lightening gel, but also removes the need for gum covers. The tray has to be worn for many hours before you can expect to see a noticeable result, so it is best to wear it overnight. Even if you do choose to bleach at home, you should still attend a check-up to see if there is any reason why you should not lighten your teeth in the clinic and have a tray fitted.
There are at-home kits that come with a generic tray, but this will not fit as well as one made for you in the clinic. Also, by getting your tray made by your local dental team, you can be assured that you are not receiving counterfeit goods.