Is it safe to bleach the teeth?
Research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth with hydrogen
peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums. Hydrogen
peroxide is sometimes used to treat gum problems and infections. Your dentist will advise you if you are a suitable
candidate for bleaching (most patients are!)
Reasons for dark teeth:
Some people have naturally dark teeth but the shade of them can change with
diet, smoking and age. Things such as tea, coffee, red wine, curry or other
highly coloured food can stain teeth, as can smoking. Occasionally if we have an
accident and knock a tooth, the nerve of the tooth will die off and the tooth
will require root canal therapy to save it—this can lead to the tooth darkening.
During tooth-formation, consumption of tetracycline or excessive fluoride may
also cause tooth discoloration. The good news is - now we do have the procedures
and products to change this.
Bleaching of a single non-vital tooth:
When a tooth is discoloured due to nerve degeneration, it may need to be
bleached using the non-vital tooth method where a small hole is drilled in the
tooth, a medicament placed for a week, and then the hole filled again.
Two methods for bleaching teeth:
There are two main procedures available for teeth bleaching—one is to have
impressions, from which a mouthguard is made to fit your teeth. A gel is used in
this Mouthguard which is worn every day for approximately 10-14 days. The second
procedure is to have in-surgery bleaching using the Zoom machine.
How does bleaching work?
When the gel is held against the teeth, the hydrogen peroxide breaks down and
when this happens, the oxygen enters the enamel and dentin (covering) of the
teeth and bleaches the coloured substances. The structure (or make-up) of the
teeth does not change, only the colour.
Bleaching does not bleach old fillings, veneers, crowns or the roots of your
Two appointments are required for this procedure: the first for 30 minutes
when photos and impressions are taken, so that mouthguards can be custom-made to
fit your teeth. Our hygienist will advise you if she feels you require a scale
and polish prior to the Zoom treatment. The second appointment (usually the
following week) is 2 hours in length. Once the gums and surrounding tissue have
been prepared, gel is placed on the teeth and the Zoom machine activated for 3 x
15 minute exposure times. At the end of the treatment a take-home pack is
provided with information and products along with your mouthguards and a tube of
gel to keep in case you should wish to do a follow-up at home to get an even
whiter result. We will also give you some Sensodyne toothpaste to use should you
suffer from any sensitivity after the treatment. It is advisable to stay away
from staining food and drink for 48 hours after this procedure.
If you keep your mouthguards safe, they can be used in the future.
At home procedure:
If you prefer to bleach your teeth at home, you can purchase a take-home kit.
Again, you will require the impressions to be taken so that a mouthguard can be
made, and then you simply apply the gel to the mouthguards, and wear for around
30 minutes morning and night. This treatment usually takes between 10-14 days
but this can be varied by the number and length of times in a day you use the
NOTE: It is important with either procedure to ensure that nothing is consumed by
mouth (apart from water) for around 30 minutes after treatment as the teeth
remain porous for this time.
To make an appointment:
Please contact the Champion Dental Centre on 04 237 9081 or the Kapiti Dental
Centre on 04 298 6754 to make an appointment.
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