By published 10 December, 2013 No Comments

Tooth whitening or bleaching is the most requested dental procedure in general dentistry today. Ancient Romans used urine and goats milk to whiten their teeth. Thankfully today we have a new range of products available to us!


Common bleaching methods use carbamide peroxide which reacts with water to produce hydrogen peroxide (a 15% carbamide peroxide liberates 5% hydrogen peroxide). The other main agent is 6% hydrogen peroxide gel.

The oxygen radicals liberated penetrate the enamel and reduce the stain and chromogens in the dentine.

Tooth staining agents include tea, coffee, tobacco tar ,red wine and curry. Aged teeth 50 yrs + have a yellow hue. Tetracycline antibiotics administered to children under 8 may cause staining in developing enamel.

Dentist prescribed tooth whitening procedures are both safe and effective and may be home kits, or in surgery treatments.

Side effects include transient tooth sensitivity, gum burns due to poor technique, and bleachorexia (an unhealthy obsession with the whiteness of ones teeth). Popular home whitening kits consist of dentist made custom whitening trays (like thin gumshields) to hold the gel in contact with the enamel for 1 to 2 hours (depending on the system used). Following 10 to 14 applications the teeth are whitened fully.

Whitening generally lasts for up to 2 years, and you may not return to the colour you started at ie your teeth will still be whiter.

You may be able to top up using more gel in your own trays for a further 2 or 3 applications.

Results can vary, as the procedure is not an exact science. However most people are happy with their new shade.

Whitening will only modify the colour of natural enamel, not crowns, fillings or veneers and dentures.

A Dentist will examine your teeth prior to commencing any whitening procedure and will give you an indication of your tooth shade before and after the procedure; as well as managing any pre or post op’ sensitivity issues.

Here at Banks Dental in Marske we offer a free consultation for all our treatments.

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