Look on the bright side

Face your photographer beaming in every shot. The Brackenwood Dental experts explain the benefits of teeth whitening

Posted: 06.03.12

No celebration is complete without sparkles, and no wedding photograph captures the joyous occasion better than the presence of a sparkly set of beaming white teeth flashing in every shot.
But however well you maintain your teeth, simple day to day activities contribute to staining your teeth, and seeing as all teeth have their own baseline intrinsic colour, no amount of brushing will make them whiter than they’re designed to be. Unless, of course, you turn to cosmetic dentistry and have porcelain veneers.

What is Teeth Whitening?
Tooth whitening is the process of lightening the existing colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces. Although it does not allow for a complete change in the colour of your teeth, it will change them significantly, enhancing the natural beauty of your smile.

Why do teeth lose their whiteness?
Teeth absorb coloured foods and beverages because they have a degree of porosity to them. Because of this, they may absorb colours, making them appear brown or yellow instead of their natural white. Also as you age, your teeth naturally start to darken.

How can I lighten the shade of my teeth?
There is a range of whitening treatments to help you achieve a whiter shade for your smile. These include laser treatment and a professional home whitening kit. It is recommended that you have a consultation prior to any treatment to see if you are suitable, as there are certain factors that may prevent your teeth from lightening or make you unsuitable for treatment. For something as important as your wedding, always go to a specialist.

What is involved in teeth whitening?
Laser/in-surgery teeth whitening
This process is undertaken at the dental practice and involves applying a high concentration whitening gel. A protective shield is used to protect cheeks and gums. The gel is then painted onto the tooth surfaces and a light/laser is used to activate the gel and speed up the reaction. This procedure can take around one to two hours and produces instant whitening results. Laser whitening is said to make teeth up to five to six shades lighter.

Professional home whitening kits
In this process your dentist will take a mould of your teeth which they will use to make a customised whitening tray. Your dentist will provide you with a whitening gel and will instruct you how to use the system. The process involves gel being placed into the tray and this will need to be worn over your teeth like a guard for about two hours a day, sometimes overnight. An active ingredient in the gel whitens the coloured substances on your teeth, making them lighter and whiter. Although it may take up to two weeks until you are pleased with the results, the kit can be used for future top ups for the full effect.

Does it hurt?
The procedures are simple and no pain should be involved. Some people may experience sensitivity immediately after the initial treatment, but it which should settle down after 48 hours. Your dentist will provide you with a special gel or mousse to ease any discomfort. Hot and cold food and drinks should be avoided within the first 48 hours of your whitening treatment. Other temporary symptoms you may experience can include discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line; but these are temporary. We recommend you get your teeth whitened at least two weeks prior to your wedding, so you arrive at your Big Day bright and smiling.

Tips for maintaining a healthy white smile:
• Use a whitening toothpaste
• Brush your teeth using a toothbrush with medium soft bristles, for around three minutes twice a day.
• Avoid drinking coffee, tea and fizzy drinks as they can stain your teeth.
• Avoid food that is highly pigmented like cherries and blueberries. Anything that will leave a stain on white shirts are likely to do the same to your teeth.
• A healthy diet is important so avoid eating too much sugar and sugary foods.
• Stop smoking: it a major cause of teeth staining.
• Chew your food – there are some foods that work like a detergent, keeping your teeth naturally clean. Apples, celery and carrots are good examples. Spinach, lettuce and broccoli prevent staining by creating a film on the teeth that acts like a barrier.
• Use dental floss and a mouthwash daily.
• Visit your dentist twice a year to ensure teeth are kept in a good condition.

• For a free consultation, contact Brackenwood Cosmetic Dentistry on 0121 455 6277
visit them at 6 George Rd, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15, or email ami.chatha@brackenwooddental.com www.brackenwooddental.com

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