First Alba Healthcare Clinical Manager Laura Russell shares some expert advice on teeth whitening, which can help to restore a white smile and boost confidence
Most people love to smile, but does your smile bother you? Is discolouration of your teeth discouraging you from smiling?
If so, you’re not alone. Lots of people look to whitening their teeth to improve their appearance and boost their self-confidence.
As busy people, self-care can often be at the bottom of our ever growing to-do list. We need quick and easy solutions.
But one thing that helps us feel a bit better – is a white smile!
Caffeine can often be the go-to for surviving the day, but tea and coffee are two of the main causes of staining and discolouration of our teeth, along with smoking and red wine.
Being aware of that – and perhaps cutting back a little – is a good place to start in your quest for whiter teeth.
Then, if you’re going to look at teeth whitening, there are a few points worth mentioning.
First of all, visit your dentist for advice. He or she will perform a full oral examination to make sure you’re a suitable candidate for whitening treatment.
If your periodondic condition (that’s the fancy name for the condition of your gums, usually shortened in the dentistry sector to ‘perio’) is poor, you shouldn’t consider whitening until your perio condition is improved and stable.
This can be usually be done by improving your teeth cleaning and flossing routine.
It’s also worth noting that any existing fillings, crowns, bridges or veneers you may have will not change shade.
At First Alba Healthcare, which has practices in Dundee, Forfar, Kinross and Newburgh, your whitening options are either carried out at the surgery or via the at-home or DIY method.
Whitening at the surgery uses a specialised light system to lighten stains and discolouration to whitening your teeth.
It takes approximately an hour to go several shades lighter. This is a popular method of whitening because it is quick and effective for patients who want a whiter smile instantly.
If you want to ‘whiten’ at home your dentist can take impressions or scan your teeth to provide customised whitening trays to use alongside the recommended bleach.
You control how often you whiten – usually once or twice a day for 20 to 30 minutes until you reach your desired shade.
It can take two to three weeks but you can whiten your teeth while you iron, bathe or even put the baby to sleep!
With this method you should be aware that you may experience some sensitivity but this can be controlled by using sensitivity-controlling toothpaste and limiting how long and often you whiten your teeth for.
Another popular option that can remove surface staining and give teeth an instant lighter appearance, although perhaps not as white as the other methods, is Air Flow stain removal.
This is a fantastic, safe and quick treatment to refresh and remove that staining dulling your smile.
Air Flow is essentially a way of deep cleaning your teeth. It uses a powerful, yet controlled, jet of water, air and fine powder which polishes all the surfaces of the teeth.
It’s completely safe to use with crowns, bridges, dental implants and veneers.
It will remove stains and discolouration caused by the aforementioned caffeine, red wine and smoking while also thoroughly removing dental plaque.
Air flow can be done by either your dentist or dental hygienist.
A final and very important point is that you should always get professional advice and treatment.
Please remember it’s actually illegal for anyone to carry out whitening treatment unless they are a qualified dental professional registered with the General Dental Council (GDC), which is the professional body governing dentistry in the UK.