Tooth Whitening – what to expect

Tooth Whitening

You may feel your teeth could do with brightening or you may actually feel you want some major changes. Often patients will feel quite unhappy about how their teeth look and it is our job to assess that and really get to the heart of the matter.

Tooth whitening can be used on it’s own or as part of a treatment which may involve orthodontics (teeth straightening) or veneers or some change of tooth shape.

It is our place to decide what is achievable and to assess the health of all the dental tissues before any whitening is carried out. This assessment will often include x-rays to ensure there is no undiagnosed decay that could cause pain when whitening commences.

What to expect

  • After an assessment and a decision is made to whiten teeth we will take impressions of your teeth. These impressions or moulds, are sent to our dental technician who then constructs whitening trays specially made to fit your teeth and only your teeth. They need to be closely adapted and have a small reservoir in them at the front of each tooth where the whitening gel is placed.
  • At the next appointment we will check the fit of the trays and spend time showing you how to use the trays and the whitening gel.
  • You will then be sent home with your instructions and for you to start the treatment, we will review you after about two weeks.

What happens when I get home?

  • Decide upon a time you would like to whiten your teeth, some people like to wear them overnight or some don’t like to sleep in them. The trays, with the gel in place, need to be worn for at least three hours at a time to have any effect.
  • Give your teeth a good clean and then ensure the trays are dry before applying a small amount of the gel into each tooth reservoir as you have been shown by your dentist.
  • Then sit back and relax! It is important not to have a drink or eat with the trays as this could dilute the gel and it is fairly unpleasant if you find the gel in your food!
  • After a few hours or overnight, remove the trays and clean all the gel off your teeth straight away. Then clean out the trays and leave them slightly damp until you next use them. The trays can become brittle if left dried out and these trays can be used for further subsequent top ups so look after them well.

Will I encounter any problems or side effects?

  • Sensitivity is very common and can vary from patient to patient. We have different strengths of gels and if you experience extreme sensitivity then it is worth reducing the concentration so please call the practice to discuss. Mild sensitivity can be improved by using the trays again and placing some sensitivity toothpaste in the trays and placing the trays back in for 30 minutes. This usually settles the teeth nicely.
  • Some white patchiness can occur – this is where the tooth surface can become dehydrated and is only temporary, as the day progresses you will see the colour even out.
  • It is important not to put too much gel in the tray as any excess can sit on the gum and cause a burn to the gum. Again this is not permanent but it is to be avoided.

How long will it take to whiten my teeth?

 Our large pack of gels give you enough for 12 -15 applications and certainly after this time you should see quite an improvement. Many people find it only takes 2-3 applications to get the shade they are happy with. Sometimes it can take a little longer and that is why it is important to return to have the colour assessed again.

Will my teeth stay white?

Over time your teeth will darken again and this is why this system is great as you can just do a top up treatment at home. Most people expect a nightly top up every couple of months and some never seem to need to repeat the treatment.

You can pop into the practice and buy top up gels as your dentist recommends.

At the moment we are running a special offer on whitening at Thackeray Dental Care so please book in to have a chat and an assessment or maybe mention it at your next appointment?

We look forward to helping you achieve a brighter healthier smile.



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