Information on the best teeth whitening options
At Home – tooth whitening kits
At home teeth whitening kits are sold in most major pharmacies throughout the UK. They usually contain rubber mouth trays (moulds that are approximately the same shape as your teeth) and tubes of bleaching gel. After squeezing some of the gel into the mouth trays, you place them over your teeth, usually for about 30 minutes at a time.
The bleaching ingredient in the teeth whitening gel is usually hydrogen peroxide. The kits will only contain weak hydrogen peroxide, so may not be as effective as the stronger products used by your dentist. Some products that you can buy over the counter are more effective than others. This depends on how much bleaching ingredient they contain.
Always speak to your dentist before using over-the-counter teeth whitening kits.
Professional Bleaching – the best teeth whitening
Professional bleaching or teeth whitening is carried out by your dentist. It can be external or internal. If you have external bleaching, the gel is placed on the outer surfaces of your teeth. Internal bleaching involves the bleaching product being put inside your tooth. External bleaching is more common, as internal bleaching can only be used if you ve had root canal treatment, making access to the inside of your tooth easier.
External bleaching is similar to over-the-counter teeth whitening kits. Your dentist will make rubber mouth trays that fit your teeth exactly, and the gel will be stronger and therefore more effective. He or she will give you tubes of bleaching gel and instructions on how to put the gel in the mouth trays. You will need to regularly wear the mouth trays for 30 minutes to one hour, over a period of two to four weeks.
Power or laser bleaching can also be done by your dentist. He or she will place a rubber seal around your teeth to protect your gums. Then the bleaching gel is put onto your teeth and a special, bright light is used to speed up the whitening process. This teeth whitening treatment usually takes about one hour.
Internal bleaching can only be done if you ve had root canal treatment. This means that the blood vessels and nerves inside your tooth have been replaced with a rubber filling.
If you have internal bleaching, your dentist will drill a hole in your tooth and put the bleaching product into the hole. He or she will then use the hole that was previously made for your root treatment, although it may need to be made slightly larger. Your dentist will seal the hole with a temporary filling, leaving the bleach inside your tooth.
You will need to go back to your dentist about a week later to have the temporary filling and bleach taken out. He or she will fill the hole with a tooth-coloured filling.
What are the risks of teeth whitening?
Before and After Gallery