The colour of a persons teeth makes a real difference to the overall appearance of their smile; even the healthiest teeth can look unattractive if they are discoloured. There is now a range of teeth whitening treatments available, which are designed to lighten the teeth and produce a healthy looking, bright set of teeth. People who feel they have an attractive smile are more likely to do well at work, build new relationships and have a higher level of self-esteem.
Shop bought teeth whitening remedies
The range of teeth whitening creams, toothpastes and gels on offer in shops today is vast; most well-known brands of toothpaste have added whitening agents to their traditional toothpastes, as the colour of peoples teeth has become an issue of increasing public awareness. In addition to normal toothpastes there are special whitening formulas and programmes, which claim to lighten the teeth over a period of time with repeated use of the produce.
At home teeth whitening treatments
In cases where a patient has slightly discoloured teeth, dentists may recommend at home treatments; this usually involves wearing a special tray that contains a whitening substance for a few hours each day. Over the course of time, the teeth become lighter and whiter. The tray is specially manufactured to fit your teeth so it should not feel uncomfortable.
Dental teeth whitening treatments
If your teeth are heavily stained or you are after dramatic, quick results, your dentist may recommend a more intensive whitening treatment. Usually this type of treatment involves using a combination of whitening substance and laser technology; the bleaching agent is applied to the teeth and then activated by an intensive laser ray. Once the process is over, the teeth will be rinsed. The results of this treatment should be visible straight away.
Types of teeth whitening treatment
Popular treatments that are often featured on television lifestyle shows, such as Zoom, Enlighten and BriteSmile whitening, use a similar process to the one outlined above but use light beams instead of lasers. These treatments often use stronger whitening substances, which can improve the colour of the tooth by up to 10 shades; the results of these treatments are often more dramatic.
Which teeth whitening treatment should I choose?
The treatment you choose will depend heavily on the existing condition and colour of your teeth; your dentist will be able to recommend the best treatment for you depending on the extent and severity of the discolouration and the level of change you want. In general, treatments offered by a dentist produce much quicker and more effective results, but are much more expensive. Many patients choose to have a combination of at home and cosmetic dentistry treatments as this makes the results last for longer. For those with very mild discolouration, whitening toothpaste or a scale and polish treatment may achieve the desired results.
How long will teeth whitening results last?
Just as with untreated teeth, teeth that have been whitened are prone to discolouration due to diet, lifestyle and ageing. In general, people who steer clear of strongly coloured foods and drinks and smoking should benefit from the results of teeth whitening treatments for several years; usually, results can last for a lifetime if the patient has their treatment topped up every few years.
How much do teeth whitening treatments cost?
At home treatments are the cheapest type of professional treatment available and usually cost around £200-£300. The cost of more intensive types of whitening treatments varies according to where you go and who does it; dentists with years of experience, excellent qualifications and a superb reputation will charge premium rates for example and clinics in the South are usually more expensive than those in the North. As a general guide, laser treatments cost in the region of £1000, while techniques that use light beams are much cheaper and cost upwards of £250.
Is tooth whitening available on the NHS?
Tooth whitening treatments are not available on the NHS as they are not essential and do not benefit physical health. Having discoloured teeth is not dangerous for health; patients who choose to improve the colour of their teeth do it for their own satisfaction.