The colour of your teeth is largely determined by your DNA. With age and/or diet and lifestyle however, dentine – the darker porous layer below the enamel which protects the nerves and the blood supply to the tooth – changes colour becoming more yellow. By applying a whitening agent to the teeth, the carbon backbones of highly pigmented proteins break down into chains. This transforms the organic substance into chemical intermediates that are lighter in colour than the original and simpler molecules that reflect less light. The idea is to allow the whitening agent to lighten the colour of the dentine as enamel is translucent.
Power Tooth Whitening
This is carried out in the dental chair according to the method developed by ZOOM! Your teeth are protected and a tooth whitening agent is applied to your teeth in three phases of 15 minutes each. An ultraviolet light is used to enhance the tooth whitening. The advantage of power tooth whitening is that it is carried out in the dental chair and requires less patient cooperation. If increased tooth sensitivity occurs, it is usually only for 24 hours after the procedure. The disadvantage is that, due to the nature of the treatment, there is a lack of control over the shade the teeth end up. They may be slightly darker/lighter than desired. We do recommend that patients use custom trays at home to enhance this treatment.
Home Tooth Whitening
This is done with custom made trays that are used at home.. This should be undertaken from between 1 week and 3 weeks depending on how much whitening is needed. For most people this method is very effective. You can expect some increased sensitivity during the weeks of tooth whitening but this soon settles when the treatment is complete or with the help of de-sensitising products. For both methods a top-up may be needed after the initial treatment but each individual is different, some need regular top-ups (once a year) and some never needing top-ups.
It is important to whiten your teeth under the supervision of your dentist. Don’t be tempted to buy kits over the counter or on the Internet. Not only are they not made to fit your mouth exactly but it also could be the case that tooth whitening is not suitable for you or that the bleach that is sold over the counter is not strong enough to have sufficient effect.