There are several ways to whiten teeth if a simple scale and polish from the hygienist is not enough.
Teeth do naturally darken as we age. Without resorting to more extensive, irreversible treatments such as crowns or veneers, it is often possible to whiten teeth with bleaching techniques. However, existing fillings, crowns and veneers will not respond to tooth whitening
This is generally used if there is darkening to a single tooth. Often these teeth have previously been traumatised or damaged and had to have their nerve removed. This will usually be followed by a root canal treatment. The tooth darkens as a result of residual blood pigment and bacterial breakdown products within the dentine. These teeth can be whitened using a simple technique that involves wearing a whitening tray continually over a few days whilst periodically placing a whitening gel into the tray and the back of the affected tooth.
This is to create an overall lightening of the teeth and can be done with a “Power Whitener” or with “Bleaching Trays”. The former involves applying a gel to the outer surfaces of the teeth and activating it with a light. The latter involves fabricating thin transparent PVC trays that are worn over the teeth – either at night or for about 2 hours a day over a period of between of 3 and 8 weeks. The “Bleaching Tray” is the method that we would normally advocate as it generally gives a more stable and long-term result. Again both techniques are pain-free and perfectly safe although they can involve increased tooth sensitivity whilst the whitening is being carried out.