Teeth Whitening

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Tooth whitening is a safe and effective way of improving the appearance of your smile without causing any damage to your teeth.

Beware of ‘over the counter’ tooth whitening systems

Over-the-counter systems do not require the expertise of your dentist so the trays are not perfectly fitted to your teeth.

At the very least, you need custom made trays from your dentist. Sensitivity is often a problem if your trays are not properly fitted. The bleaching solution is not evenly distributed over the teeth, and saliva can seep in to dilute the solution. Many over-the-counter systems contain an acidic rinse which can remove significant amounts of the tooth structure. These types of systems usually contain a lower amount of peroxide, hence they are not as strong as what your dentist will prescribe.


What is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is the process by which the discolorations of the enamel are lightened.

How long will it last?

This will depend on the patient, and the patient’s oral habits. The average person will require periodic touch ups once or twice a year.

Is the treatment safe?

Yes. Clinical studies have shown that bleaching under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums. Your dentist will advise you on how to use the Pola Day and Pola Night take home kits.

How white will my teeth get?

This will depend on your teeth – everyone’s teeth are different. If your teeth are heavily stained from coffee or smoking, you will probably see a big change. If your teeth are not heavily stained, the change will not be as great.

How does tooth whitening work?

The active ingredient (either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide) is broken down, allowing oxygen to enter the enamel and dentin, causing the stains to be lightened.

What causes teeth to discolor?

There are many causes of tooth discoloration. Some of the most common include the consumption of highly colored foods (beetroot, sweets etc) and drinks (coffee, soft drinks, red wine). Antibiotics consumed at an early age, natural aging, smoking and trauma can also add to discoloration.

Do all teeth whiten evenly?

There is an overall whitening of all teeth. The biting edges of the teeth are more likely to whiten faster than the areas adjacent to the gum. It should also be noted that in some patients, whitening can result in a frosty, chalky appearance of the teeth, but this usually reverts to a more natural translucent appearance after several hours to several weeks (very rare).

What is the taste?

A yummy spearmint flavour.

Are there any side effects?

For the majority of patients there are none. However, some will experience temporary sensitivity (dull or sharp) on the teeth and/or gums. This will subside after several hours of stopping the treatment. The wear times can be shortened or made less frequent or topical desensitizing toothpaste or gel can be used. Abstain from carbonated drinks, citrus foods and beverages to avoid sensitivity for a few hours after treatment.

Are there any long term effects?

Dentists have been using peroxide whitening for over 50 years and there have been no known long term adverse effects

How long does the procedure take?

This will be decided by your dentist. He or she will assess your requirements and prescribe the appropriate system and concentration.

What causes teeth to stain again after bleaching?

The same things that made them stain in the first place, ie general aging, red wine, smoking, tea, coffee, colored foods etc.

How often do you have to get your teeth whitened?

Once your teeth are whitened it usually lasts 1-3 years, however some people prefer to have touch-ups every 6-12 months.

Is it better to get the Pola treatment now or wait until my teeth are more stained?

It is better to get it done now as the stains will become worse and darker. The teeth will then require more applications of bleach as stains will be harder to remove.

Are my teeth more easily stained now that they have been whitened?

No, the chance of staining your teeth are not increased once they have been whitened, if you follow the post treatment care instructions sheet given by your dentist.

Will my crowns, veneers and fillings get whiter?

No, only your natural teeth will.

Is it safe to whiten my teeth if I am pregnant or lactating?

No studies have been done on these people so we advise they do not undergo bleaching.

Are you entitled to free NHS care?