Cosmetic Dentist / Teeth Whitening London

Teeth Whitening

Do you have stained teeth that make you feel self conscious when you smile?

Teeth whitening treatments have become extremely popular in recent years and are now amongst the most asked for cosmetic dental treatments. However, most people have heard about whitening treatments but find that choosing a treatment can be confusing as there are so many different products and services on the market which all claim to eventually produce amazing results.

Dr Nikita Nirwan is a big fan of home whitening. Home whitening involves creating a custom made plastic mouth tray for you which is designed to fits over your teeth. You will then insert a whitening gel which you will wear for approximately 90 minutes a day. This is a highly effective and popular solution for teeth whitening at home.

Contact Dr Nikita Nirwan now for your free consultation

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Teeth Whitening FAQ

What is teeth whitening?

On average people appear 20% more attractive with whiter teeth… who wouldn’t want dramatically improve their appearance? Recent research shows that people with whiter teeth are perceived as more socially competent, smarter, more satisfied with their relationships, and more psychologically adjusted. Another reason to crave a whiter smile!

Teeth whitening is a very safe and effective at home or in office way of getting a brighter and whiter smile. Surface and internal stains will be lifted out of the teeth and the natural colour of your teeth can be changed.

Stain removal toothpastes and hygiene visits can help to remove surface stains on your teeth. However, these processes will never change the internal colour of your teeth. Our products can, and only in a matter of days.

What causes teeth to discolour?

Teeth can gradually change in shade as we grow older, depending mainly on our lifestyles. As you probably know certain foods and drinks can cause our teeth to discolour more quickly, picking up staining which over time can be difficult to remove.

Foods that stain your teeth:

1) Coffee: We all know that coffee is one of the worst when it comes to darkly staining your teeth. The tannins in this go- to for a pick-me- up potion is what causes a huge deal of external staining in our teeth. But did you know that it actually damages your teeth in other ways? Coffee is also very acidic, even without that extra sachet of sugar you pour in to perk you up… This makes our mouth an acidic environment, meaning anything that you eat after it can cause decay or enamel loss a lot more easily. This does not mean that you have to boycott your morning hero and walk around like a zombie until noon! By being more mindful, such as drinking your coffee with a lid/ through a straw then you can avoid some of the acidity and discolouration. Even adding a dash of milk Americano can help to reduce staining also.

2) Tea: Tea is the superhero of all drinks. Getting you through everything from a bad break up to an afternoon in front of the fire with a good book… This relaxing brew is said to calm us down and chill us out. But not many talk about the stains it leave behind on our pearly whites! Not even our health conscious- green tea drinking friends are out of the woods when it comes to staining... Research shows green tea stains our teeth a greyish colour, whilst black tea stains them a yellow colour. However, not to worry too much about missing out on your soothing friend, as research also shows that adding a dash of milk to your brew slashes the staining potential greatly.

3) Red wine: With all this great press around red wine, who can resist that second glass at the end of a long week! Whilst research makes big claims about the health benefits of red wine, we are just too familiar with the stains it leaves behind on our teeth. Staining them stubbornly with shades of grey and even black, this drink is unforgiving to our quest for white teeth perfection. However, If you are a glass half- full kind of person like me, then you could focus on the fact that it helps to prevent cavities as well as lowering your heart disease risks, and drink up! (in moderation of course)

4) Berries: Although they are infamously packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, these super-fruits may be excellent for overall health, but a menace when it comes to maintaining a glowing smile. They again contain tannins which colour your teeth strongly and tenaciously. Of course continue with consuming them as you would, the effect they have on your body health well outweighs the fact they can stain your teeth. Regular visits to the dentist, a good clean and removal of stains can soon remove the nightmares of consuming these fruits.

5) White wine: yes, white wine can be just as bad for our dreams of white teeth as red! In a different way, however. White wine does not actually cause staining per say, only darkly coloured foods can do this. It can, although, make your enamel thinner and more vulnerable- allowing stains picked up later deeper, and also making teeth generally look more yellow because of the darker dentine shining through. Sweets, chocolates and fizzy drinks: All you need is a visit to the dentist once in your life to have the fear of god put in you when it comes to all things sugar. There is a vast sea of research showing the ill effects sugar has on your general health as well as tooth health. Not only do sweets and chocolate cause the dreaded tooth decay that makes black holes and cavities in your teeth and causes tooth aches from time to time. But also the acid in them softens your enamels, which leaves this protective layer in jeopardy- not being able to protect from sensitivity and making your teeth appear more yellow in colour. Not even dentists say you’re not allowed any indulgences- just be careful not to graze on sugar throughout the day and keep them to meal times only if you are going to treat yourself.
Not just food and drinks can make your teeth look discoloured.

6) Acid reflux: Internally, acid reflux can cause acid from your stomach to travel up to your mouth, leaving behind a very acidic environment. This causes your enamel to thin and the yellower dentine shining through gives your teeth a dull appearance.
Tetracycline staining: Certain medications, such as tetracycline given at an early age or even to your mother when you were in her belly can cause a blue-grey tinge to your adult teeth when they erupt in a banding fashion. This can be very distressing for people who have it. For many decades dentists maintained that these cases could not be treated effectively with conventional teeth whitening and would have to have more invasive treatments such as veneers and crowns.
Nowadays whitening gels have come a long way. Breakthrough technology in the kor whitening system shows us great results with mild to moderate tetracycline staining teeth.
However, for more stubborn cases or for more of a perfect result, you may opt to consider going down the route of veneers. I believe crowns are just too destructive for teeth that have had no work done on them in the past. Veneers- porcelain or EMAX are a great, quick way to completely mask the underlying discolouration.

People also often talk about ‘bonding’ for such cases. In my experience this does not provide satisfactory results for me or the patient. Simply bonding filling material over discoloured teeth can still leave a grey shine through and poor aesthetics.

Fluorosis: This is when your teeth are still developing in childhood, they uptake too much fluoride (a natural occurring mineral). This fluoride incorporates itself into the structure of your teeth and in very large quantities can result in white speckling or brown mottling of your teeth. Aesthetically this is not a very pleasing look and patients may opt to whiten their teeth to hide these marks.
It is worth noting, that sometimes fluorosis can be so severe that it cannot be managed by simply whitening and veneers may need to be considered. Also, another limitation with whitening is that it may make your white speckling appear worse when you first start the process as the bleaching effect may be uneven. However, a lot of the times with mild cases we can get the back ground of your teeth white enough to match with the areas of speckling, to look much better. Most of my patients are very happy with our treatment for this condition.

How do professional products whiten my teeth?

Bleaching products dispensed by your dentist can whiten your teeth by the means of peroxide based gels. Peroxide has the ability to penetrate into the structure of your teeth and break down staining particles and bring them to the surface to be removed.

Please note that tooth whitening is only for natural tooth structure and any fillings, crowns, bridges or implants would not be whitened, so it is best to have your whitening completed first before any prosthetic work is undertaken.

Which products do Dr Nikita use?

Poladay/ Polanight, Opalescence and White Dental Beauty and recently we have added Kor whitening to our repertoire of products. Whitening products come in a range of different concentrations and brand names.

I like to find the best products for my clients, that give fast effective results from day 1 and produce little sensitivity in my client’s teeth.

What ingredients are in the whitening syringes?

The main active ingredient that will help to lighten the colour of teeth is Hydrogen Peroxide, or Carbamide Peroxide. They both have the same effectiveness, just different concentrations and wearing times.
I like to use Carbamide Peroxide preferentially as this is more stable than HP, so it usually results in less sensitivity of your teeth during the process.

Are there any side effects of teeth whitening?

The main side effect from whitening your teeth using peroxide is sensitivity. This is when your teeth become sensitive to hot/ cold foods and drinks during the process. But rest assured, this is only a temporary effect. I can give further advice to ease the sensitivity during the process, and once you achieve the colour you want, you can stop the process and your teeth will return to their normal sensitivity levels.
Other less common side effects:
Burning of the gum tissues if bleach is left on them for a prolonged period of time and excess not removed. This can happen and resolves after the process is stopped within a few days.
Root resorption- a very rare side effect of whitening that can lead to shortening of the roots of your teeth.
Devitalisation- again, a very rare outcome can be the nerve death inside a tooth.

How long do the results last?

Tooth whitening gives long term results. All you need to do to maintain your new smile is keep good oral hygiene habits, avoid staining foods and regular ‘touch ups’ can be done to uphold a bright white smile. How often you would need those touch ups would depend on your diet and lifestyle, invariably the smokers and coffee drinkers need more regular treatment. You simply you can top up with a few more days of treatment, and you’re good to go sparkle again.

What sort of difference can I expect to see after teeth whitening??

Depending on the brand and concentration of bleach you use and where you start off, manufacturers say that you can typically expect to see up to 15 shades improvement in the colour of your teeth. I like to be realistic however, see our portfolio to see the kinds of results real people get for yourself.
Please note that tooth whitening is only for natural tooth structure and any fillings, crowns, bridges or implants would not be whitened, so it is best to have your whitening completed first before any prosthetic work is undertaken.

What sort of difference can I expect to see after teeth whitening??

Depending on the brand and concentration of bleach you use and where you start off, manufacturers say that you can typically expect to see up to 15 shades improvement in the colour of your teeth. I like to be realistic however, see our portfolio to see the kinds of results real people get for yourself.
Please note that tooth whitening is only for natural tooth structure and any fillings, crowns, bridges or implants would not be whitened, so it is best to have your whitening completed first before any prosthetic work is undertaken.

Who is not suitable for teeth whitening?

Most people are ideal candidates for treatment but there are a select few that cannot have treatment or may need to postpone their whitening procedure:
-pregnant or breast feeding mothers
-cancer patients and patients undergoing chemotherapy
-if you are wearing fixed braces then you should wait until you have finished treatment first. For Invisalign patients, however, is fine to have your whitening at the same time.
-as we mentioned previously, if you have a lot of crown or bridge work on your front teeth, you may not be suitable for whitening as it would not change the colour of anything but natural teeth.

Different types of tooth whitening

It can be baffling when your dentist starts reeling off all of the different techniques for whitening you can have and how they all work. Here I have simplified it into 2 categories:

In- office tooth whitening: there are several different systems out there for in office tooth whitening:
Philips ZOOM system: this is the system that I use due to its great results and predictability. see our page for zoom to see what it can offer you.
Enlighten
Britesmile teeth whitening
At home tooth whitening kits:

External whitening: this is the most common type of dental whitening that you will come across. All it means is that teeth are whitened from the outside in. the colour is slowly lifted and very deep internal stains may take longer to lift. You can also expect the necks of your teeth (the area right next to the gum line which usually appears a bit darker) can take a little longer to whiten than the tips of your teeth.

Internal whitening: this is technique is used when you have had a root canal procedure in your tooth and the tooth has become darker and discoloured from within. An x-ray should be taken to assess the root filling and if all is well then a small opening to expose the root filling can be made so that the whitening product can penetrate deeper. This tooth should be preferentially treated before you do any whitening in any of the other teeth as the colour lifting will happen slower than the rest of the teeth.

Will teeth whitening damage my teeth/gums

There have been some horror stories in the media about people who have used home whitening kits, which have resulted in damaged gums and lips. These kits have tended to contain high concentrations of peroxide which have led to soft tissue damage.
These kits have been bought online and may seem like a good deal but teeth whitening should be carried out by a trained dental professional.
Teeth whitening gels do very little in terms of damage to your teeth and research has shown that once course of tooth whitening has the same effect on your enamel as drinking 1 can of fizzy cola, so it should not be of concern as long as it is done by a qualified dentist.