What is teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. It can't make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several shades.
About teeth whitening
Teeth whitening offers the advantage of lightening the colour of your teeth without removing any of the surface of your tooth.
Bleaching is the most common way to whiten your teeth. Products usually contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. When these chemicals break down, they release oxygen. This gets into the hard, outer surface of your teeth (the enamel) and whitens them. How long the whitening effect lasts is different for everyone but it can be up to three years. For more information, see our FAQ: How long will teeth whitening last? below.
In general, you need to be 18 years old to have teeth whitening, although this depends on your individual circumstances.
If you have external bleaching, your dentist will make sure they protect your gums with a shield or gel. They’ll then use custom-made mouth trays (like a mouthguard), to apply a whitening product to your teeth.
Your dentist will give you the bleaching product, and instructions on how to use it, so you can continue whitening your teeth at home. How often you need to do this, and for how long will depend on the bleaching product. It can vary from 30 minutes to an hour at a time. For some products, you’ll need to leave them on for eight hours. Depending on which product you use, you might start to see results after one to four weeks.
Your dentist may offer you a type of external bleaching called power bleaching. In this procedure, they apply the bleaching product onto your teeth, and then shine a very bright light onto them. The light is thought to speed up the whitening process by reacting with the bleaching product. But there’s little scientific proof that it’s better than other types of bleaching.
Internal bleaching Internal bleaching can help lighten the colour of teeth that have darkened from having root canal treatment.
First, your dentist will re-open the hole that was made for your root treatment. They’ll then put the bleaching product into it. Your dentist will seal the hole with a temporary filling, leaving the bleaching product inside your tooth.
You’ll need to go back to your dentist after about a week to have the temporary filling and bleaching product changed. During each visit, your dentist will also check if the treatment is working. You might need to go back a couple of times before the treatment is complete. At this point, your dentist will close the hole permanently with a tooth-coloured filling.
In order to avoid the sensitivity of teeth after bleaching, special medications are prescribed that can be used at home.
You can get more information after the consultation.