Understanding teeth whitening starts with understanding tooth staining. There are two basic types of stains that affect your teeth, and your smile!
Extrinsic stains are on the surface of the tooth. Their causes include:
- Tobacco products
- Foods and drinks such as berries, coffee, tea and red wine
- Calculus (which forms when plaque remains on the teeth)
Intrinsic stains are beneath the surface and are difficult to remove. These stains become part of the tooth and can be caused by:
- Excessive fluoride use
- Certain medications taken during tooth development
How to get Whiter Teeth?
Just as there are several causes of tooth staining and discoloration there are some easy options to try for whiter teeth.
Options for teeth whitening products include
- Whitening toothpastes which contain mild abrasives which scrub the teeth removing surface stains to make them whiter. Some toothpaste also contains peroxide or phosphates to help remove and prevent stain. These toothpaste will only remove extrinsic staining and won’t change the colour of your tooth enamel
- Rinse with a whitening mouthwash which provides gentle foaming action to safely protect against future stains and can get to hard-to-reach places.
Bleaching by a dental professional at Appletree Dental Practice
In practice we advise and use a tray system. These trays are custom made to fit your mouth and are made by a dental laboratory. We then arrange for the trays to be fitted and provide the bleach for you to use at home over a short period of time along with full instructions
You may experience some sensitivity when using the tray system this is usually temporary. If you experience sensitivity we advise the use of sensitive toothpaste. Tray systems cause less sensitivity than rapid bleaching and are a kinder more gentle way to bleach your teeth
Teeth whitening procedures may not work on all types of tooth discoloration and will not whiten crowns, fillings or bonded teeth. If you have any issues when whitening your teeth, consult with your dental professional. In addition to preventing new stains, regular cleanings by a dental professional can remove surface stains.
We are happy to discuss any questions or concerns you have. Tooth Whitening isn’t available on the NHS and we offer this service to our patients privately.
Tooth whitening FAQs
I have an appointment booked to get my teeth whitened, but it isn’t with a dentist. Can you tell me whether they are allowed to perform tooth whitening?
Only registered dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists and clinical dental technicians, working to the prescription of a dentist, can perform tooth whitening. Check online on the GDC (General Dental Council) register
If the person performing the tooth whitening cannot be found on one of their registers they are not legally allowed to practice tooth whitening and it would be unlawful for them to whiten your teeth.
I’ve seen a leaflet advertising tooth whitening at my local hairdressers. It says that the staff are insured; if that’s the case then it must be legal?
False. The fact that somebody who offers tooth whitening states that they have valid insurance or indemnity does not indicate that the tooth whitening procedure itself is legal. The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTC) states that they will not insure individuals to carry out tooth whitening as there is no government recognised qualification for this treatment.
I have heard that only dentists and some other dental care professionals can whiten teeth?
True. Only dentists, dental therapists, dental hygienists and clinical dental technicians working to the prescription of a dentist can legally perform tooth whitening.
I have been told that it’s not illegal for beauticians to offer tooth whitening?
False. The High Court case of GDC v Jamous confirmed that tooth whitening is the practice of dentistry and can only be legally performed by a dentist or a dental therapist, dental hygienist or a clinical dental technician working to the prescription of a dentist.