Tooth whitening – What is it & how disruptive will it be to my lifestyle?

Tooth whitening – What is it & how disruptive will it be to my lifestyle?

Posted by Morgado-IDC | 27th July 2021 | Team News

Tooth whitening can be performed in several different ways. The main thing to remember with tooth whitening (along with anything else regarding your oral health) is that you visit a Dental Professional for these type of treatments – either a Dentist or Dental Hygiene Therapist. These treatments, if not carried out by clinicians, can compromise your oral health.

Tooth whitening can be done alongside other cosmetic and general dental treatments or as a standalone treatment. It is important to remember that tooth whitening can only whiten natural surfaces of teeth, not crowns or fillings. For example, if a patient wanted composite bonding as part of their treatment, we would carry out the tooth whitening first and then the composite bonding after so we can match the shade. This is the same for replacing crowns and such. The only factors that may stop a patient from being able to receive tooth whitening is age or that their oral health is not stable (any outstanding necessary treatments). The GDC (General Dental Council) tells us that with tooth whitening releasing between 0.1% and 6% hydrogen peroxide, it cannot be given to patients under 18 years of age “except where such use is intended wholly for the purpose of treating or preventing disease”.

Here at Inspired, we offer two different treatment plan options for tooth whitening – an at home kit and a combination of an at home whitening kit and an in surgery top up appointment. Both of these options are using the Enlighten Smiles© brand. This particular brand is renowned for not only amazing results, but also their brilliant customer support services. “Enlighten is widely acknowledged as the most effective whitening system in the world. It is the only one that guarantees a Vita shade B1 for every one of your patients. And it has 98% success rate.” With both of these systems, the whitening gels must be kept in the fridge at all times, this ensures that the desensitising agents within the gels are active and keeping patient discomfort to a bare minimum. With both systems the gels, trays and specialised toothpaste will come all together in a kit. We advise patients to wear the whitening trays overnight for optimum results, however if the patient does not want to do this, a period of 4 hours wearing them should be sufficient in order to achieve amazing results.

Enlightens at home whitening kit persists of mainly two stages. A consultation in surgery with a dentist to discuss what the patient would like to achieve from treatment and as long as they are dentally fit, the clinician or nurse will scan the patients’ teeth using an iTero machine. The iTero scanning machine provides the most advanced technology available so that the dentist can create accurate and detailed pictures of the patients’ teeth. This is an alternative, more accurate (and less messy) way to send the impressions of the patient’s teeth to the dental laboratory so they can make the whitening trays. Once the scans are sent to the lab, they will create a tailor made whitening tray specific to that patient and will send it back to us. The second stage is the fitting and demonstration of the whitening trays. Approximately 10 days after the scans are sent off, we invite the patient back to the surgery for their final appointment with us to demonstrate how to correctly use their whitening home kit. During this appointment, the dental professional will demonstrate how to administer the whitening gels into the trays and will provide them with some aftercare instructions and advice on how to keep their teeth lovely and white.

Enlightens combination of home kit and an in surgery top up appointment consists of mainly 3 or 4 stages; this treatment is called the ‘B1 Guarantee’ – this is due to Enlighten Smiles© ability to guarantee the patient using the system that they will achieve the shade B1. B1 shade is the whitest natural shade of white you can get (without looking too much like Simon Cowell). The first and second stages of this treatment is exactly the same as the at home kit – the patient has the scans and then can return 10 days later to have the fit appointment. The third stage of the B1 Guarantee treatment is the in surgery top up appointment. This appointment should be booked once the at home whitening has finished, usually between 2-3weeks after receiving the kit. For the in surgery appointment , the patient will be required to bring their whitening trays along with them. The reason for this is that during this appointment, the dental professional will administer a stronger percentage of whitening gels to the patient’s whitening trays every 20 minutes – this appointment lasts an hour. gels) without professional supervision. Some other brands of whitening gels are neutral pH when they are made. Enlighten gels are still neutral pH at use. This means patients can get guaranteed long-lasting results and more importantly – with minimal sensitivity. Enlighten gels are made in small batches and the company that make the gels refrigerate them continuously and provide the packs with an icepack during transmission to the practice. The final stage of this treatment is bringing the patient back in for a final time for some comparison photos and a general review to check to see how they have found the experience and if we can help them further.

After whitening treatment is over, maintaining the patients new shade of white teeth could not be simpler! We recommend sticking to a ‘white diet’ at least 3-4 hours after removing trays. This is due to patients’ teeth becoming slightly porous after the treatment. A ‘white diet’ means to avoid acidic, pigmented food and drink that may cause discolouration. For example, avoiding drinking a strong coffee immediately afterwards. This is only for a short period of 3-4 hours post whitening, patients do not have to stick to this constantly. By following a white diet during this time, it limits the number of dyes or pigments that may come into contact with the mouth, until potential sensitivity subsides.

Results can last up to a year with a good oral health routine, the right diet, and personal habits. For example, a patient that drinks a lot of red wine may need to buy top-up whitening gels more frequently than a patient who does not. Once the initial kit has been bought, patients are able to purchase top-up at home gels from us directly. Most commonly, patients tend to visit us annually for these.

The best thing about these whitening treatments is even though the colour may ‘dull’, the shade will never revert back to the way the patients’ teeth looked pre to the whitening. So, you are always moving forward not backwards!

Elle Hetherington

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