As teeth become older they darken and become more yellow. What we eat and drink also affects the colour of teeth as does smoking. All teeth can be made whiter but some stains take more effort and time.
There are different ways to whiten teeth with some systems being highly effective but reverting quickly. We use a procedure that takes longer but also lasts longer – often years. We make a thin plastic cover (tray) that fits exactly over the teeth. The patient takes it home, puts a tiny amount of tooth whitening gel in the tray and sleeps with it over night. Results are noticed after a few nights but 6-12 weeks of treatment is usually needed to get a remarkable change.
For those with less patience, an intense treatment in the chair, done by the hygienist at the beginning will speed up the process.
Teeth whitening doesn’t harm teeth or gums, if done correctly, but during the first two weeks of treatment some patients report increased sensitivity – “teeth on edge”. Sleeping with the trays is no different to sleeping with retainers after braces. It is worth noting though that fillings and crowns will not change colour.