Just as the name implies, tooth whitening is a process to brighten and boost the colour of natural teeth. Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are a number of ways to whiten teeth. The most popular method is using a home teeth whitening system that will whiten teeth dramatically. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. Replacement of any restorations will be done after whitening so that they will match the new shade of your teeth.
The chemistry behind tooth whitening is by using a peroxide of a specific concentration, you produce a chemical reaction on the ‘internal’ stain within the tooth to neutralise it. Once neutralised it makes its way out of the tooth, leaving the tooth structure itself untouched.
This makes tooth whitening very safe as there is no reduction or loss of your natural tooth. It is worth being aware that there is a natural porosity in all our teeth, and whitening increases the porosity significantly. This is partly what creates the transient sensitivity that occurs with the treatment. After you complete your whitening treatment, the tooth will return to its natural porosity within 2-3 weeks.
Teeth whitening results are long lasting as long as the maintenance regime is followed. A touch-up may be needed every several years, and more often if you smoke, drink coffee, tea, or wine.