often asked question about teeth whitening

Frequently Asked Questions About Teeth Whitening

We are often asked about teeth whitening in London so we thought we would share some of those questions - and our answers of course!

  • I’m not happy with the colour of my teeth, but how do I know whitening would be OK for me?

Ans: Before you consider doing anything at all to your teeth the first step should always be a full dental assessment that might include an x-ray to identify what is causing the tooth discolouration.  Generally speaking if you then proceed to tooth whitening then a colour that matches your teeth to the whites of your eyes will work best.

  •  Is it always Ok to whitening my teeth myself?

Ans: Having a pre whitening exam may reveal  the need for some specific treatment before or even instead of the planned whitening treatment.  Abscessed teeth can cause discolouration for example,  as can decay or root canal issues. Whitening without addressing the underlying problem will just mask that problem.   Whitened shorter teeth tend to make a gummy smile more obvious  and exposed tooth roots will not take up the bleach so the results probably won’t be great!

  •  Does whitening ever damage teeth?

Ans:  Lots of research has been done that has concluded the low concentrations of peroxide prepared and administered properly will not harm the teeth.  That is why we recommend whitening in the dental surgery so that you know that the treatment will be safe.  There are many home kits but not all of them will be as safe as they should be.

  •  If my teeth start to feel sensitive during a tooth whitening process what can I do about it?

Ans:  If you know that you have sensitive teeth then there are some measures you can take before you embark on whitening. You could try using a desensitising toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate for the two weeks prior to your bleaching which should reduce sensitivity. Potassium nitrate can also be used in the bleaching tray and having less frequent bleaching or longer breaks between bleachings will help too.

  • Can all teeth be whitened?

Ans: Different teeth will reach different whiteness. Each tooth will have a shade of white beyond which it cannot be whitened further, whatever is used. Peroxide will travel through the outermost layer of the tooth (the enamel) and the middle layer (the dentin) to the innermost layer (the pulp) in between 5 and 15 minutes changing the colour of the dentin and the enamel, and also removing stains. Teeth will generally get more opaque when they have been whitened and if they tend towards being opaque before whitening, it can look as though they are no whiter at all.

In this case, often a tooth-coloured composite filling material can be placed on the tongue side of the tooth to make it look whiter.

  • Is age a factor?

Ans:  Bleaching teeth from age 10 or older is technically Ok as all the adult teeth will be in by then. Sensitivity is not usually  a problem with young people. Older people's teeth also take bleach well as long as root exposure is not prominent and whitening can make a person over 45 look ten years younger!

Whatever your age or your tooth state come and see us for an assessment and advice on whitening your teeth.


06 Jun 2016