Teeth will discolour during the natural ageing process over time, and things such as smoking, tea, coffee, red wine etc, only speed up the discoloration process. Tooth whitening gel is a peroxide based compound which penetrates the microscopic holes in the tooth’s enamel, removing the stains and lightening the teeth. There are two ways to get your teeth back to their pearly white.
The first way is a take home bleaching kit where custom trays are made from moulds of your teeth and you follow a bleaching regime for up to 14days at home. The other method is in chair bleaching where the gel is applied to the teeth whilst you are in the dental chair. Both methods can achieve the same result, however, the degree of whitening will vary from patient to patient.
Tooth whitening is not permanent, you will need to repeat the maintenance process every 12 – 18 months to keep your teeth at the shade you desire.
In the past, teeth were most commonly repaired with amalgam (commonly referred to as silver) fillings. Thanks to advances in modern dental materials and techniques, teeth can be restored with a more aesthetic and natural appearance using white filling materials.
White fillings most commonly use a material called Composite Resin. It is made up of a composite quartz resin that sets hard after being exposed to intense UV light. These light cured composites are extremely cosmetic and most often bonded into place in one appointment. These materials come in a variety of shades so there will be one to match different coloured teeth.
Patients commonly ask “ When can I eat?”. These fillings are instantly hardened by the light so you may eat straight after your appointment being aware that you may still be numb. Often it is better to wait until the numbness wares off. Your teeth may experience some degree of temperature sensitivity for a few days to a week, every person reacts with differing degrees of sensitivity.
Similar to composite bondings, porcelain veneers can be used to improve the cosmetic look of your smile. Porcelain is a much stronger material than composite and will last longer. They also have the added benefits of not staining as easily as composite and they can mask dark discoloured teeth better than composite. It is however a more costly procedure, but you can always have it done down the track after you have tried composite bondings first.