Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is one of the easiest and most popular of the aesthetic dental procedures undertaken. It is a legal requirement that someone either holds registration with a medical or dental register who provides this treatment.

But beware, the online market is flooded with products that are imitations with poor quality control or even have the wrong ingredients putting peoples’ general health at risk.

Here at Ilfracombe we provide a safe, dependable, high-quality whitening system that has been proven in the medical field for years. This tray system is used at home and puts you in control as to what colour you are trying to achieve.

Frequently asked questions

Teeth whitening results are very stable, leaving you with a stunning smile long after treatment is over. However, there are a few factors that can make teeth lose their luster. Things like genetics, diet, age, some medications (like tetracycline), and certain habits (like smoking) may affect the length of your whitening results. Fortunately, touch-up treatments are quick and easy, helping you get that bright, white smile back.

If you were to think of your teeth as a white tablecloth that is used every day. If you were to spill anything on that tablecloth then it would absorb that stain. You could wash it every day but it would gradually dull with time. The same happens with your teeth so anything that you wouldn’t want spilt onto your tablecloth will dull your teeth in time.

Tooth sensitivity is a relatively common side effect of teeth whitening and results from irritation of the nerve of your tooth by the peroxide in the whitening gel. No harm is caused to your tooth as a result of a whitening treatment, and this discomfort is not an indication of damage to your tooth. If sensitivity occurs, it is most often temporary and will go away when you’ve completed the whitening process. If you do experience tooth sensitivity, there are ways to treat it using desensitizing toothpastes and gels

Teeth whitening is a safe, comfortable way to get a bright, white smile. Results and treatment time may vary depending on the level of staining and whiteness desired. Crowns, bridges, fillings, and veneers will not whiten.

Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, those with gum disease, worn enamel, cavities, and exposed roots may not be good candidates for whitening their teeth. We recommend visiting your dentist for a pre-whitening consultation so that they can help you choose the professional option that best fits your needs.

Can I whiten my teeth after a root canal?

Yes. Our whitening system is designed specifically to whiten non-vital teeth. Consider talking to your dentist to learn more about the process for whitening a non-vital tooth.

Can I whiten a crown or a filling?

No, only natural tooth structure can be whitened, any crowns or fillings that you have will not react to whitening products. If you have a crown or a filling that is easily visible, you may want to talk to your dentist about different options for improving your smile.

Kits sold in Europe cannot legally contain more than 0.1% peroxide and this is too little to be effective. To counteract this problem some kits sold over the internet may contain mild acids and abrasives.

Does teeth whitening with charcoal work?

There is no evidence that brushing your teeth with activated charcoal is better, safer, or more effective than standard whitening toothpaste. Charcoal leaves a mess, tends to settle at your gumline, and is difficult for a dental hygienist to remove. Although the abrasiveness of the charcoal may help remove some surface stains, you may risk abrading your enamel too much. Such damage may not be repaired. Additionally, it is impossible for charcoal to actually change the colour of your tooth. The only substance proven to whiten the colour of your enamel is activated oxygen, such as that released by the peroxide contained in Opalescence teeth whitening.

The cost of teeth whitening can vary greatly depending on what you use and where you get it. While over-the-counter whiteners are the least expensive, they may not be the most effective because they are not tailored to your specific needs and they may increase the risk of having sensitive teeth. Other dentist-administered teeth whitening treatments may be more expensive because of costly lights or lasers used in the procedure, but these accessories generally do not provide any added benefit. Opalescence teeth whitening offers the benefits of a dentist prescribed whitening treatment without any costly gimmicks, making it the best value. Talk to your dentist about specific costs and to determine the best whitening option for you.

Stains on teeth can be classified in one of two ways: extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic stains appear on the surface of the tooth. Intrinsic stains are found in the microcracks in the enamel and within your dentine. Whitening toothpastes and mouth rinses may be able to remove some extrinsic stains but only teeth whitening agents can remove the stubborn extrinsic and unsightly intrinsic stains that cause your teeth to look discoloured.

Who is able to carry out this treatment?

Miss Celine Reynolds

Dr David Hickleton

Dr Gary O’Neill

How it works

Opalescence gels contain an active whitening ingredient (either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) that penetrates your enamel to access discolouring agents. Peroxides release oxygen-containing molecules which react and breakdown the discolouring molecules in the tooth resulting in a brighter, whiter smile.

Opalescence system is a tray system that is applied at home. It involves two visits. The first, a check of the whole mouth to check for your suitability of treatment. Pregnancy, people who suffer from acid reflux, people who have active decay or fractured fillings and people who suffer from sensitive teeth are discouraged from any whitening treatment. This is not the exhaustive list and your dentist is the best reference for your suitability.

An impression of your teeth will be taken. This literally takes minutes to do and is not painful. From these impressions, custom-fit trays are made for your mouth. On the second visit, the trays are checked for size, comfort and your dentist will show you how
to apply the whitening gel. It isn’t hard and written instructions will be given or you can refer to the Opalescence website. The trays are worn daily for 4 hours when no food or drink is consumed. You can access demonstrations on the internet by visiting www.opalescence.com/eu

How long does tooth whitening take?

It depends on the result you would like to achieve. Generally, the longer the solution is used, the lighter the teeth become. Teeth generally come in three colour tones: yellow which is easily to lighten, grey which takes twice as long as yellow and red which is extremely difficult to shift. These colour tones to a greater or lesser degree run through your teeth so the whitening effect depends on your tooth’s colour tone makeup. Your dentist will discuss this with you. It also depends on what you are introducing to your teeth on a daily basis. Tea, coffee, red wine and black currant, curry and tobacco can dramatically slow the effect of the whitening. On average, whitening will take between two to four weeks. Further whitening treatments will take less time as there should be a smaller accumulation of intrinsic stains to remove.

Everyone responds differently to whitening treatments and everyone will whiten at different rates. Some stains are easier to treat than others. Teeth that are yellow or brown are easier to whiten than teeth that are gray-ish. Younger patients typically whiten more quickly than older patients, but every patient is different.

When whitening, keep in mind that your smile looks most natural when the colour of your teeth matches the whites of your eyes. Some people want a Hollywood white smile, but that is not a natural colour for teeth and few people can actually reach that colour of white. Compare strengths and wear times for our various Opalescence whitening products and consult with your dentist to help determine the right option for you.

Our whitening results

Our patient was concerned about the grey appearance of her teeth but didn’t want really white teeth. She preferred a natural look without the grey. Grey hues have a medium difficulty to remove and therefore require more time to treat. Our system allows for the patient to control the outcome. (This is particularly useful when a patient has crowns and bridges to match colour to). She was delighted with the result.

This patient was concerned that the white flecks of enamel on her front teeth stood out because the rest of her teeth were a darker yellow colour. Lightening the surrounding enamel draws the attention away from her white flecks. She stopped her treatment when she was happy with the result.

Our last example shows the results when treating the red hue in teeth. This is the most difficult to change and requires patience. The effect is not instantaneous but our patient had been reluctant to smile because of the colour of her teeth and is more than happy with her progress. She smiles more confidently now.

All pics from G O’Neill

Generally, no and if there are, they are mild. Common side effects are; sensitivity to hot but mainly cold during or after treatment, discomfort in the gums, sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are temporary and should disappear within a few days of treatment finishing. Allergy to the active ingredient is also a possibility, this is extremely rare but precautions are taken with everyone to minimize the effect of this occurrence.

This whitening system contains potassium nitrate and fluoride which helps maintain the health of the enamel throughout the whitening process.

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit your dentist and hygienist regularly, they can offer cleaning, oral hygiene advice as well as custom oral hygiene packs that support the health of your mouth.
  • We offer top up syringes that compliment this system.

Everyone responds differently to whitening treatments and everyone will whiten at different rates. Some stains are easier to treat than others. Teeth that are yellow or brown are easier to whiten than teeth that are gray-ish. Younger patients typically whiten more quickly than older patients, but every patient is different.

When whitening, keep in mind that your smile looks most natural when the colour of your teeth matches the whites of your eyes. Some people want a Hollywood white smile, but that is not a natural colour for teeth and few people can actually reach that colour of white. Compare strengths and wear times for our various Opalescence whitening products and consult with your dentist to help determine the right option for you.

Our tooth whitening system gives you flexible options to whiten your teeth when and where you want. Opalescence PF 10% custom-tray whitening allows you to whiten overnight by wearing your custom-trays while you sleep. Because the length of time needed to achieve the shade you desire will depend on your specific case, you may require more than one application of Opalescence PF 10% whitening over multiple nights. Consult with your dentist to determine if this option is right for you.

Lots of other in-office whitening treatments use a light or a “laser” during the whitening process. You’ve probably seen adverts for these kinds of teeth whiteners. Or maybe you’ve even seen kiosks in shopping centres where they use a light to whiten your teeth. Are these lights and “lasers” really effective, though?

The answer is no. Current research shows that only hydrogen peroxide (the whitening agent) are effective in whitening teeth. Light activation adds no additional benefit. In fact, some research shows that using a light for whitening can be harmful to lips and gums.

Quite simply they are not. Tooth whitening in the UK can only be legally carried out by a dentist. It is illegal to supply whitening material containing more than 0.1% peroxide to anyone other than a dentist, or direct to the public.

These regulations are to protect the public and make sure anyone carrying out whitening is properly trained and skilled to carry out the procedure without risking permanent damage to teeth, gums and minimise the risk and damage caused by allergies

  • Ilfracombe Patient
    “I'm always made to feel welcome and at ease. The dentists are friendly, with a good chair-side manner - an excellent experience all round.”
    Ilfracombe Patient