Teeth whitening (2024)

Teeth whitening (1)


Lacheev / Thinkstock https://www.istockphoto.com/gb/photo/teeth-whitening-lamp-ultravioleta-the-girl-on-reception-at-gm590064358-101394101 The stock library no longer exists. Image was incorporated into the webpage during the subscription term and can be used indefinitely in the same page - subject to thinkstock subscription rules.More info is at the bottom of this page regarding ThinkStock licensing: https://confluence.service.nhs.uk/display/VP/Photography+stock+sites

More and more people are paying for brighter, whiter teeth. But doesteeth whiteningwork andis it safe? Here are the answers to common questions aboutthe treatment.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. It can't make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several shades.

Who can do teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be carried out by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental therapist, on the prescription of a dentist.

Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening, but this is illegal if there's no dental professional present, and it may put your oral health at risk.

You can also buy DIY home teeth whitening kits but thesemay alsocarry risks.

What happens during teeth whitening?

If you have your teeth whitened you'llfirst need to make 2 to 3 visits to the dental surgery.

The dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a mouthguard and tell you how to use it with a bleaching gel. Then, using your mouthguard at home, you regularly applythe gel fora specified period oftime over a few weeks. Some whitening gels can be left on for up to 8 hours at a time, which can shorten the treatment period.

Laser whitening, also known as power whitening, is another type of teeth whitening system that a dentist can provide. A bleaching product is painted onto your teeth and then a light or laser is shone on them to activate the whitening. Laser whitening takes about an hour.

Can any dentist whiten teeth?

Any dentist can whiten teeth as long as they're registered with the General Dental Council. Registered dental therapists and dental hygienists can also carry out teeth whitening on the prescription of a dentist.

To find out ifa dental professionalis registered you can check the online register on the General Dental Council website.

What abouthome kits and beauty salons for teeth whitening?

Only go to a registered dental professional for teeth whitening because whitening by people who aren't qualified, for example in beauty salons, is illegal.

Home kits also carry risks. Talk to your dentist first, before using a home kit.

What are the risks of home kits and salon teeth whitening?

Some home kits don't contain enough whitening product to be effective. Also, if a dental professional isn't doing the whitening, the mouthguard provided may not fit properly so some of the bleaching gel may leak out onto your gums and into your mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity.

Teeth whitening carried out in beauty salons by untrained staff or staff without dental qualifications puts your oral health at risk and is also illegal.

Will I pay for teeth whitening privately?

Teeth whitening by a dentist or other dental professional can generally only be done privately because it's considered to be a cosmetic treatment. Costs vary and laser whitening is more expensive than professional bleaching.

Find out which dental treatments are available on the NHS

How do I find out about getting my teeth whitened?

Your dentist will advise you whether whitening is right for you. It may be that teeth whitening isn't suitable, for example if you have gum disease or crowns.

Find a dentist near you

What should I ask the dentist before going ahead?

Don't be afraid to ask simple questions about the types of whitening treatment available, what results you can expect and how long they are likely to last.

You may also want to ask them whether there are any risks involved – for example, increasing the sensitivity of your teeth.

Try to talk to other people who've had the same treatment or visit another dentist for a second opinion until you feel confident. Always ask for a written treatment plan and price estimate before going ahead.

Is teeth whitening permanent?

Teeth whiteningisn't permanent. It can last from a few months toup to 3 years – it varies from person to person.

The whitening effect won't last as long if you smoke or drink red wine, tea or coffee,which can all stain your teeth.

Will teeth whitening work on false teeth?

Teeth whitening doesn't work on dentures, crowns, fillings or veneers.

What are the risks of teeth whitening?

No matter what treatment you use, there's a chance your gums will be sensitive to the chemicals used in teeth whitening, particularly if you already have sensitive teeth. There's also a chance of burns to gums and some of the whitening kits used at home can harm tooth enamel.

What if I'm not happy with the results?

If you are not happy with the results, speak to the dental professional who carried out your treatment to ask for advice.

If you're concerned that teeth whitening by a dental professionalhas damaged your teeth, you can contact the Dental Complaints Service online or call them on 020 8253 0800. This is an expert, free and independent service that can help if you have a complaint about private dental care.

If you think your teeth whitening hasbeen carried out illegally (that is, by someone not qualified or registered to perform it)you can report this on the General Dental Council website.

Page last reviewed: 17 January 2022
Next review due: 17 January 2025

Teeth whitening (2024)


Do some teeth not respond to whitening? ›

The fact is, not all teeth respond to whitening. Furthermore, it is important to understand what whitening products you use can really make all the difference. Let's consider certain things that might keep your teeth whitening treatment from working.

Why no results after teeth whitening? ›

The natural color of teeth can vary due to various factors, including genetics, age, and lifestyle habits. Some individuals naturally have teeth that are darker or have a yellowish tint. These teeth may have a denser enamel layer or more pigmented dentin, making them more resistant to whitening treatments.

Why are teeth more yellow after whitening? ›

Teeth can become temporarily dehydrated after using whitening strips. Your teeth may appear more yellow as a result of this dehydration because the enamel may become dry and lack moisture. Dehydrated enamel sometimes has a transparent appearance that makes the naturally yellowish dentin underneath visible.

Does teeth whitening actually work? ›

Tooth-whitening works best for people with yellow teeth and is less effective for people with brown teeth. If your teeth are gray or purple, tooth bleaching probably won't work at all. To be sure tooth-whitening is worth your time and money, talk to your dentist before you use an over-the-counter tooth whitening kit.

Why are my teeth not white enough after whitening? ›

Darkening or relapse of the tooth shade is expected after whitening. Relapse of shade occurs almost immediately as the freshly whitened dehydrated tooth rehydrates. Repetitive prolonged exposure of the chemical is the only way to achieve optimal results.

Why would teeth whitening not work? ›

Some home kits don't contain enough whitening product to be effective. Also, if a dental professional isn't doing the whitening, the mouthguard provided may not fit properly so some of the bleaching gel may leak out onto your gums and into your mouth, causing blistering and sensitivity.

How do I know if my teeth can't be whitened? ›

Tooth discoloration caused by medication, health conditions, or lost enamel may not respond well (or at all) to whitening treatments. On the other hand, stains from lifestyle and diet tend to respond well, but very heavy staining may require intensive whitening or other treatments to get the results you want.

Do some teeth just not whiten? ›

Here are some reasons why your teeth are not whitening like you had hoped for: Intrinsic stains: Intrinsic stains are stains that occur inside the tooth, often due to genetics, medication use, or trauma. These stains are harder to remove with traditional teeth whitening treatments.

Why won't my teeth whiten no matter what? ›

Your Teeth Aren't Clean

You may not see it, but your teeth may have a dirty biofilm or layer of plaque buildup that is preventing the whitening agents from targeting your tooth stains. Consider teeth whitening after your next routine dental cleaning.

How long are teeth pores open after whitening? ›

Once the pores close, which usually happens within 24-48 hours after the procedure, you can resume your normal habits.

Do teeth go back to normal after whitening? ›

After the treatment, it is natural for teeth' color to regress somewhat over time. This is normal and should be gradual, but it can be accelerated by exposing the teeth to various staining agents, such as coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine, colas, citrus drinks, fruits, etc.

Can old yellow teeth be whitened? ›

It's natural for teeth to appear darker as they age, but a bleaching product with hydrogen peroxide or urea peroxide can help turn back the clock – and a whitening toothpaste is an easy way to get a jump-start.

What is the success rate of teeth whitening? ›

Generally, whitening is successful in at least 90 percent of patients, though it may not be an option for everyone. Consider tooth whitening if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea or smoking.

What whitens teeth the best? ›

Hydrogen and carbamide peroxides are the gold standard of at-home teeth whitening. If you're looking to go a chemical-free route, coconut oil won't cause any sensitivity, according to Dr.

What type of teeth cannot be whitened? ›

Teeth that have yellowed with age

Dentin is naturally yellowish and cannot be lightened with teeth whitening products.

Why will one tooth not whitening? ›

If you have been using over-the-counter bleach trays or whitening kits provided by your dentist, it is possible that a single tooth may not be whitening correctly because of previous dental work. Crowns and veneers do not whiten with bleaching agents, unlike natural teeth.

Why isn't my teeth getting white? ›

Another reason why your teeth don't become white through brushing is that you will always stain them. Meaning, you will constantly consume food or drink or develop some habits, like smoking, that can stain your teeth. Just so you know, smoking, drinking coffee, cola, and wine can stain your teeth.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Kerri Lueilwitz

Last Updated:

Views: 5592

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (47 voted)

Reviews: 94% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Kerri Lueilwitz

Birthday: 1992-10-31

Address: Suite 878 3699 Chantelle Roads, Colebury, NC 68599

Phone: +6111989609516

Job: Chief Farming Manager

Hobby: Mycology, Stone skipping, Dowsing, Whittling, Taxidermy, Sand art, Roller skating

Introduction: My name is Kerri Lueilwitz, I am a courageous, gentle, quaint, thankful, outstanding, brave, vast person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.