Teeth whitening treatments: Razzle-dazzle over the party season

Candy Bellinger

An easy way to knock 'em dead at Christmas bashes is with a dazzling smile. But if you've had too many red wines or like to smoke your teeth may be looking yellow. To get your gnashers pearly white, there are several teeth whitening treatments to try.

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Teeth Cleaning
Sounds obvious, but you may just need a de-scale and polish. Take a trip to the dentist and ask to have them cleaned. You could keep up the good work at home with a whitening toothpaste.

Home Kits
Over-the-counter kits are now found in all local chemists. They contain moulds that you squeeze bleaching gel on, and put over your teeth for around 30 minutes at a time. Results can be variable, as the gel is quite weak and doesn't work for all types of damage. Always check with your dentist to see if another treatment may be suitable, and make sure any kit purchased has a British Dental Health Foundation approved logo.

Professional Bleaching

A dentist can use different methods to lighten your teeth, including external bleaching. With this the tooth surface is lightened by having a gel placed on the outside of the tooth, but the gel is stronger than over-the-counter-kits so produces better results. Or laser whitening can be used to speed up the process, with teeth possibly ending up six shades lighter.

Internal bleaching is a professional method that is used on teeth that have had a root filling. The dentist drills a hole in the tooth, inserts the bleaching agent, and covers it with a temporary filling. A week later both are removed by the dentist, and the tooth is lighter.

Summing Up

Teeth whitening treatment can last a few years, however it could be a matter of months with home kits. Also, your drinking, smoking and eating habits may affect how long the results last. No matter what, it's a good idea to check with your dentist on the best approach to take.

Have you had success with teeth whitening? Tell us what worked for you.