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The biggest cause of tooth discolouration is what we eat and drink, consuming something that has a strong colour will overpower the enamel on our teeth and lead to staining. Red wine, coffee, and brightly coloured curries are probably the most common culprits, adults in the UK put away thousands of gallons of their favourite beverages and snacks every day, causing a myriad of health problems, as well as damage to the teeth. Bad habits like smoking or chewing tobacco are also detrimental to the appearance of our smiles; nicotine has strong staining qualities and will change creamy white enamel an unpleasant yellow.
However, there are some other contributing factors to discolouration that can’t be avoided simply by cutting certain foods from our diets. Genetics dictate what we look like, how tall or short we are, and they also decide what colour our teeth will naturally be. Chances are, if our parents have a yellow tinge to their teeth, we will too. There are very few people born with a perfectly white ‘Hollywood’ smile, most will have some dark shading in places or slightly discoloured areas – particularly on the teeth that aren’t exposed to the sunlight as much. Ageing can also affect the way our smile appears, as time passes, the enamel becomes more porous and starts to absorb the stains rather than fighting them off. This is something that affects everyone as they get older; it’s nothing to do with how well we take care of our teeth.
Lastly, there are certain systemic illnesses that can affect the mineral growth in parts of the body, including the mouth, this can result in grey, brown, or even purple tinged teeth. This defect comes from inside the body and prevents the normal construction of the white enamel.
Laser teeth whitening is a dental treatment that can help get rid of the unsightly stains mentioned above, most kinds of discolouration can be dealt with using this method. The word ‘laser’ often puts people off, it sounds like a surgical procedure, but it’s actually a very simple process that carries little risk to the patient or their teeth – and the ‘laser’ is really just a blue curing light. You may be familiar with home whitening kits, but these don’t contain any kind of light to activate the bleaching gel and get optimum results. A professional laser whitening treatment can successfully break down even heavy layers of staining, to bring out the natural whiteness of the teeth. People with very dark enamel may have to return to the surgery for several treatments, but most patients will see dramatic changes in under an hour.
Your dentist will have to examine your teeth for decay or disease before you can go ahead with the teeth whitening, but this should only take a few minutes. If there are any problems that need treating beforehand, you might be deemed unsuitable – whitening over the top of dental problems would be a pointless endeavour anyway.
If your dentist says it’s ok for you to go ahead, your teeth will be cleaned by an oral hygienist, to make sure any food debris or bacterial build up is removed, this gives the bleaching gel the best canvas to work with. Then your lips and cheeks will be held away from your teeth with a plastic shield or some cotton pads, this is to prevent any of the whitening solution from coming into contact with the soft tissues in the mouth. The gel is designed to break through tough stains on the enamel; it contains peroxide that can cause burns to the gums if it’s not correctly applied. However, most professional clinics will use good quality gel that is of a high viscosity – meaning it’s thicker than the average home whitening alternative, so it won’t spill out of the mouth or slide off the teeth.
A generous layer of the bleaching gel is applied to the teeth that are visible when smiling, and then the curing light is brought in, this specialist tool is used to get the best results possible. It works by heating the active ingredients contained in the gel, making them work harder and break through the stains more effectively. Not all whitening treatments use a curing light, but laser whitening practitioners maintain that it’s the most efficient way to get the best out of the bleaching products. After about fifteen to twenty minutes, the bleach has done its job and the first layer is removed to make way for the second application. The same process is repeated, then the gel is cleaned off and applied for a third and final time. When all three sessions have been completed, the treatment is over; this process usually takes under an hour and will not need to be repeated, unless there are deep layers of staining to deal with. Most patients are surprised that such dramatic results are achievable after only a short period of time, but the instant colour change is testament to the efficiency of laser teeth whitening.
Quality cosmetic treatment costs money, there’s no getting around that, but teeth whitening is among the cheapest of dental procedures available on the market today. This is primarily because it’s so simple; there’s no real surgical element to it, and no significant risk to the health of the patient. The healing process is practically non-existent, and the only adverse effects seem to be a heightened sensitivity for several days after, or in some cases small discolorations on the gums – this too is temporary. Because laser teeth whitening is one of the safest treatments you can have, you should be able to purchase it for around a hundred pounds, but for well-known surgeons you could expect to pay three hundred pounds or more. For more information on prices and dental services, book a consultation with the Pearl Dental Clinic, they will be able to tell you if laser teeth whitening can help you.
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