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Aura Dental

Stained & Discoloured Teeth - Tooth Whitening

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Aura Dental The Aura Centre
Charlbert Street, St. John's Wood, London NW8 7BT
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Enlighten  

Tooth discolouration can be a result of either extrinsic (surface stain) or intrinsic (internal stain) factors. As a general rule our teeth become darker as we become older – it is part of the normal ageing process. The deciduous or milk teeth have a much whiter appearance than their permanent successors. Many people would prefer their teeth to be whiter and so look at various whitening and bleaching options.

Teeth may become discoloured while they are forming (during childhood), as a result of an illness or, the use of tetracycline antibiotics. Teeth may also become discoloured when the pulp (nerve and blood vessels) inside the root canal dies or is damaged as a result of tooth decay or trauma. Teeth also darken naturally with age as a result of progressive hardening within the tooth or because of erosion and thinning of the enamel.

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What is Enlighten teeth whitening?

Well-known causes of tooth stains are tobacco (tar), strong tea, coffee, red wine and Melanoidins (large discolouring molecules from cooked vegetable oils). Medicines containing iron and heavily coloured foodstuffs can also be a contributing influence. Deposits of tartar (calculus) that form around the necks of the teeth will also pick up unsightly stains that are extremely difficult to remove.

Teeth which have had their nerve removed (dead or non-vital) will always be darker than their live (vital) counterparts. Upper front teeth (incisors) that have taken a heavy knock (trauma) will frequently become discoloured if the blood vessels have been ruptured at the end of the root (apex). If a haemorrhage (bleed) has taken place within the tooth itself (pulp chamber) the usual bruising and healing processes of the soft tissues cannot occur. The blood products break down in the tooth and cannot be taken away by a fresh blood supply. As a result, the tooth can become seriously discoloured.

Regular visits to the dentist or hygienist and proper tooth brushing are all an essential part of maintaining good oral hygiene, a healthy mouth and clean teeth.

Bleaching is the use of chemical agents to produce an oxidation of the discolouring molecules within the tooth. It is not a temporary process. A dentist using chemical agents can also remove superficial stains such as tobacco, tea and coffee.

Dentists can bleach teeth externally by applying a bleaching product containing peroxides (usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). It can either be done at the dental surgery or by the patient at home (under the dentist's direction). At-home systems contain lower concentrations of peroxide, usually 3.5 percent.

The dentist takes an impression of the teeth to produce a custom-made tray that covers the teeth to be bleached. The tray will hold the bleaching gel against the teeth with minimal contact with the gums and other oral tissues. The tray is worn for several hours, usually at night time or when it is most convenient. A course of treatment usually takes two to three weeks. Possible side effects include minor sensitivity of the teeth to heat and cold. These symptoms are usually mild and will quickly ease when the treatment ends.

In-surgery systems usually involve a higher concentration of peroxide, which is used with a powerful dental light unit. Your gums need to be protected using a rubber shield or special paint-on varnish. The procedure takes from 30 minutes to an hour. This is sometimes repeated at subsequent appointments to achieve the maximum effect.

When a tooth is discoloured following the death of the pulp, the dentist can carry out internal bleaching after the completion of root canal treatment for the tooth. The bleaching agent is sealed inside the tooth for about a week. It is cleaned out when satisfactory lightening is achieved and a tooth-coloured filling is placed inside the tooth. A very effective method is to combine internal and external bleaching.

Internal and external bleaching is used to lighten dead (non-vital) root-filled teeth. The procedure involves putting gel inside the tooth by holding the gel inside a mouthguard. It produces very good results.

Teeth with a yellowish hue usually bleach well, brownish ones less so; greyish teeth may not bleach well at all.

Discoloured fillings will not improve with bleaching. They will show more if the surrounding tooth structure is bleached and they may have to be replaced. The dentist will be able to tell if bleaching is suitable, or not, and discuss other options such as veneers and crowns for improving the appearance of the teeth.

Whitening toothpastes contain ingredients that increase the effectiveness of superficial stain removal and can prove a very effective measure, if used regularly, to prevent stains gaining a foothold. However, they are unable to alter the intrinsic colour of teeth. All toothpastes contain mild abrasives, which help remove surface stains.

Enlighten is widely acknowledged as the most effective whitening system in the world. It's the only system that guarantees a Vita shade B1 for every patient and it has a 98% success rate.

We recommend Enlighten's Evolution professional teeth whitening treatment as it is the only system in the world that will whiten up to 16 shades easily and safely and will give you a dramatic look.

The system uses state of the art materials which are so good that even the highest concentration of gel used is safe on the gums. Other major professional whitening systems use much higher concentration gels and therefore need to place a barrier on your gums and lips to protect them from being burnt.

With Evolution there is absolutely no need for any gum protection so it can deliver a great result every time, but it is safer and easier to use.

How does it work?
You will need to first have some impressions which will be sent to the Enlighten laboratory who will then make high quality sealed bleaching trays for you. This usually takes about two weeks. During this time, you will need to use their amazing toothpaste called "Tooth Serum" twice a day instead of your regular toothpaste.

This is no ordinary toothpaste. It contains a material called Hydroxyapatite (HAP) which is what your Enamel is made of (97% of it in fact). This HAP will not only improve the whitening effect but it will also protect your teeth and reduce and sensitivity.

Next you will come back to pick up the bleaching trays and your home whitening kit. You will then need to whiten your teeth at home every night for two weeks, ensuring that you keep using the Tooth Serum twice a day.

The final appointment, you will return once more to us for a 40-minute treatment in the surgery. Make sure you bring your whitening trays with you. This final treatment will not only boost the colour a little but will ensure the whitening is even and natural looking and help the colour to be more stable i.e. the whitening will last longer.

The good news is that now you can keep your teeth white forever! By keeping your trays safe and purchasing more home gel from us, you can top up every now and then. We recommend you wear your trays one night every two or three months to keep your teeth at their optimum whitening level. For added benefit you can use the Tooth serum - this will help maintain the colour and protect your teeth. You can purchase more from us if you wish.

For what foods to avoid when whitening your teeth please read our blog which you can find here.

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