The 'pros and cons' of teeth whitening

Teeth whitening, a cosmetic procedure offered by most dentists, has become increasingly popular in recent years, but dental insurance  providers don’t always provide cover for these procedures, so be sure to check what your insurance provider does cover.
Dentists can safely lighten the colour of your teeth without removing any of the surface enamel.
There are various factors that affect teeth colour, external and internal.

  • Drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine and blackcurrant.
  • Smoking.
  • Certain antibiotics can also discolour teeth and it’s important to tell your dentist if you are taking medication.
  • Genetics.

Bleaching or whitening:

The most common form of teeth whitening is professional bleaching. A rubber shield or gel protects your gums before a whitening product is applied to your teeth. This whitening product contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
The procedure takes two to four weeks, depending on how your teeth react to the treatment. The teeth whitening process begins in your dentist’s surgery and you continue to apply the product at home, between 45 minutes to 90 minutes at a time. Sensitivity can be a side effect of teeth whitening, but it is transient and can easily be controlled with the use of products such as ‘Tooth Mousse’ or Sensodyne toothpaste.
Teeth whitening can be improved through the use of light, also known as power whitening. The product is applied as before, a light is then used to activate the chemical which accelerates the active agent and improves the results. Good results can be achieved within an hour.
Treatment such as this is generally not covered by dental insurance  because it is classified as a cosmetic procedure, it’s not available from the NHS. Your dentist will inform you of the full cost of the procedure before any work is carried out.

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