Yellow or discoloured teeth can be treated with whitening agents containing carbamide peroxide. Applied directly to the surface of the teeth, carbamide peroxide treatments can be done at home. The dentist will construct a customised tray for the patient to hold the whitening agent and advise the patient as to how long the appliance should be worn each day and the duration of the treatment. Customised dental trays help prevent the gel solution from coming into contact with soft tissue, which can cause sensitivity and irritation.
While there are many over-the-counter whitening agents, these are of a much lower concentration than those prescribed by a dentist, and not all discolourations respond to treatment. It is therefore necessary to have a consultation with a dentist to see if the whitening procedure is suitable for you.
Questions About Teeth Whitening
- Do teeth whitening products really work?
Yes they do — in the right instances and if used in the right way. Over-the counter-products contain a much lower concentration of the active agent so they take longer to work. Dentist-administered products, on the other hand, have higher concentrations so the results can be seen faster – and they last longer.
- How long will the teeth stay white?
This depends on your habits, like how effectively you brush your teeth, how much coffee, tea or wine you drink and whether you smoke.
- Will teeth whitening work for everybody?
Unfortunately, no. Teeth whitening products work best on natural teeth that are completely sound, i.e. with no fillings or crowns. People with deep stains caused by antibiotics may see very little improvement. Teeth with uneven colours, e.g. opaque white spots, cannot be changed to a uniform colour. People with gum recession and exposed roots, or those who have worn out teeth or faulty fillings, may feel some sensitivity.
For these reasons, it is best to have a professional consultation to find out which method is best for you. Sometimes all you may need is a good, professional polishing to have brighter teeth!