Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that lightens the natural colour of your teeth without removing any surface enamel or damaging the tooth. It can be used to address discolouration of the teeth, whether it be from smoking, diet or simply through the ageing process. You can have your teeth professionally whitened at a dental surgery or you can buy a home whitening kit at any major pharmacy or supermarket.
Having your teeth professionally whitened will involve a one hour procedure at your dental surgery. Your dentist may use any one of a number of whitening methods, the most common of which involves placing a rubber shield on the gums to protect the tissue. A bleaching/whitening solution is then applied to the teeth in a specially made tray which fits in the mouth like a gum-shield. The peroxide ingredient brakes down on the tooth surface and gradually lightens the tooth over time.
The second technique commonly used is laser whitening. This is where a laser is shone on the teeth to activate the peroxide, thereby speeding up the whitening process. The laser technique tends to produce faster, more dramatic results.
Risks and side effects
There are no serious health risks associated with teeth whitening. Temporary complications include tooth sensitivity and painful gums. Some people also develop a a sore throat but this passes after a few days.
Cost and prices
The price of teeth whitening in a UK private dental clinic can range from £250 to over £1000, depending on the level of work required and the technique used. A tooth whitening home-kit can cost anthing from £20 to £200.
NHS, private or abroad
Teeth whitening is rarely available under the NHS because it's a purely cosmetic procedure. However, teeth whitening is offered by many private dental surgeries in both the UK and abroad. You can also buy home tooth whitening kits at most chemists and pharmacies.
Is medical treatment abroad a good idea or is it less safe than in the UK?