Patients love having a smile to be proud of and the colour of the teeth play a huge role in the overall aesthetics of someone’s smile.  It is normal over the years for teeth to discolour and this can prematurely age someone’s smile.  As a dentist it is our job to identify what type of staining is present and what the best course of action would be to improve this.

Teeth usually discolour for two reasons:

1.) Extrinsic staining

  • This is when food, drinks or tobacco stain the outside surface of the teeth.
  • It can result in unsightly brown staining.
  • It can be removed with polishing techniques.
  • After polishing the teeth can appear whiter but if the teeth are still discoloured then the teeth are likely to suffering from intrinsic staining too.

2.) Intrinsic staining

  • This is when food, drinks or tobacco stain the outside surface of the teeth.
  • It can result in unsightly brown staining.
  • It can be removed with polishing techniques.
  • After polishing the teeth can appear whiter but if the teeth are still discoloured then the teeth are likely to suffering from intrinsic staining too.
  • Being able to whiten the teeth is a straight forward process and is the most cost-effective way of making a significant improvement to a smile.  There are two ways in which people can whiten their teeth: Home or In-chair whitening.  Both use gels, usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, which are applied to the teeth and over time they remove the internal discoloration and staining within the tooth.  It is safe to do either procedure. 

    What is the difference between Home and In-chair whitening?

Home whitening

This is an easy way of improving the colour of the teeth.  The method we use is to provide our patients with a take home kit which is applied nightly for 2 weeks.   At the end of this period the teeth will be visibly whiter.

Home whitening suits patients who require a moderate amount of tooth whitening and as the process is gradual, the patients can stop whitening when they feel they are happy with the improvement.

This is an example of home whitening.  The effects were achieved after 2 weeks of nightly whitening application.

In-chair whitening

This involves a session in the chair where we isolate the teeth, place a more concentrated whitening gel and use of an activating lamp to whiten the teeth over a period of 45mins. The teeth will be whiter at the end of this session. This suits some people if they do not feel they would be able to do the nightly application at home. It is also particularly good for teeth which are much darker and need the strength of the in-chair gel to get the teeth to the desired colour.

We use Zoom® In-chair whitening from Phillips which is an excellent whitening system and has been demonstrated over many years to produce excellent outcomes.

Zoom® whitening suits patients who require a significant level of whitening which may not be possible with home whitening. It allows a much quicker improvement to the colour and also suits patients who are time poor and would like things to be done instantly.

This is an example of the effectiveness of Zoom® whitening which was done in one session. The patient was very pleased at the end of the appointment and will be able to smile with renewed confidence into the future.

Over time, the use of a home whitening kit would be beneficial to maintain the colour of the teeth as it is natural for the teeth to need topping up after 6-12 months. If you have any questions regarding any aspects of teeth whitening, please call us at the practice and we will be happy to answer them.