What is Tooth Whitening?

Whitening is a process where the tooth discolouration is ‘whitened’ to a lighter shade. It removes the staining agent through chemical means. 90% of teeth will lighten noticeably with ‘professional use only’ whitening gels. It is a safe procedure when carried out under professional supervision. Treatment results depend on the severity and cause of the discolouration which is where the expertise at Wimborne Dental optimises the results possible. Both vital (i.e. live) and non-vital teeth (e.g. tooth with nerve removed) can be whitened with a choice of treatments. It is not effective on dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, bridges and dentures etc.

Teeth can discolour for various reasons. Our dentists will recommend the most ideal method based on your oral condition after an examination to establish the cause and nature of your tooth discolouration. They will also provide you with more information on the various types of whitening procedures available, including the benefits, risks, duration & frequency of treatment recommended.

At Wimborne Dental we offer tooth whitening which is carried out at home. This requires 3 short appointments which include creating bespoke tooth whitening trays which are yours to keep and can be reused when you feel you need a top up, a demonstration on use and written instructions with a review of the results after treatment. For future whitening all you need is some more tooth whitening gel which can be provided by us.

Whitening trays should be checked at least every 2 years by a dentist to ensure they are still fitting correctly. This is to ensure none of the whitening gel leaks into your mouth when the trays are used at home. Tooth whitening is not permanent and topping up of the whitening can be done at your discretion.

  • Surface staining
  • Decay
  • Leaking fillings/crowns
  • Trauma
  • Internal staining, due to medication in developmental stages
  • Hypo-plasia of enamel (structure of enamel incorrect)
  • Aging teeth-enamel thinning so shows more dentine

Safety studies have shown that whitening the teeth using a dentist prescribed home whitening technique is perfectly safe on the teeth, cheeks, gum and tissue of the mouth. Whitening the teeth with the dentist prescribed kits is the equivalent to drinking one soda drink. The whitening gel has a ph, which is neutral.

There are problems with the whitening kits that are purchased over the counter. Although they are inexpensive, they normally contain acid rinse, which can damage the teeth or thin down the enamel of the teeth. This acid rinse can be extremely harmful to the teeth..

It is not advisable to whiten your teeth if you smoke. It is best to stop smoking for at least 3 weeks before commencing the whitening procedure. This is because smoking causes the teeth to darken anyway and the effects will be diminished.

The technique of whitening teeth chemically is not for everybody. There are some situations where whitening teeth is contraindicated, such as where the front teeth are already crowned, where there are very large fillings on the front teeth, or where the teeth are already excessively worn and there is tooth surface loss. The most ideal situation is where there is not much wrong with the teeth except for the colour which has become more yellow with age.

  • Air Polishing of teeth - this is the best solution if surface stain is the cause of discolouration
  • Over the counter whitening products - these products are limited by law as to the strength of active whitening agent that can be used, hence the whitening will be limited if any.
  • External tooth whitening with bespoke trays and professional strength gel - this process requires daily application spread out over 2 weeks. This produces the optimal results while minimising the potential side effects.
  • In house laser/light whitening - this claims to give immediate lightening results but this effect is mainly due to the teeth drying out and is temporary. The intense treatment also increases the risks of side effects such as sensitivity, pulpitis (causing toothache) and gum burns. For these reasons we do not offer this at Wimborne Dental
  • Internal tooth whitening - this is used for teeth that are root-filled and are darker than surrounding teeth. It can be used in combination with tray tooth whitening. The filling that seals in the root filling  is removed and a strong lightening agent is placed into the tooth with a temporary dressing sealant. This is changed weekly until the desired result is achieved and then a permanent sealing filling is placed.
  • Treatment of decay with replacement of decayed/defective crowns, fillings etc
  • Surface etching - if the discolouration is very superficial and localised, the damaged surface enamel can be softened with etch and abraded off
  • Icon - this is resin that infiltrates damaged enamel and alters the light reflective properties of enamel to blend with adjacent normal enamel. This is suitable for dark/white spots on teeth
  • Veneers - these are porcelain facing over the front of the teeth and can be suitable for severe discolouration when the shape/position of teeth also needs masking

Prices from £350.