Whitening and Brightening
Apart from veneers, there are other methods of whitening and brightening teeth that don’t require removal of the tooth structure. If this is more to your liking, then bonding and bleaching may be for you.
Bonding is a treatment done to improve small irregularities in your teeth and blemishes as well, but isn’t quite as successful as veneers. It involves etching your tooth with a gel which is then painted with a bonding liquid that sets firmly by flashing a special light. A putty-like resin is moulded onto the tooth and shaped and hardened again by the light. Finally, the set resin is trimmed and polished.
Caring for your bonding
- Brush and floss regularly; avoid sweet and starchy foods
- Regular visits to your dentist
- Regular toothbrushes and toothpastes may be too hard on bonded teeth. Your dentist will discuss which are best for you.
- Don’t bite hard foods with your bonded teeth. If your front teeth are bonded, use your side teeth.
- Alcohol may cause deterioration in the resin. Drink moderately.
- A satisfactory treatment for small blemishes
- No tooth preparation required
- Only one visit to the your dentist is normally needed
- Excellent colour matches are possible
- May be less expensive than veneers
- Can be a temporary measure before a permanent treatment is required
- Easily repaired and maintained with regular visits to your dentist
- Prone to chipping and breaking but easily repaired
- May need regular touch-up work
Bleaching is done mainly for stained, discoloured teeth. It is an option chosen by some if professional cleaning is not enough. It is a safe procedure but may not be appropriate if you have oral symptoms of some diseases.
First, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth to be made into a custom mouth tray. This holds the bleaching gel close to your teeth. Your gums won’t normally come into contact with the bleach.
You will wear this tray for 30 minutes to two hours every day and your teeth will gradually lighten. While some bleaching agents can be used all night, it may irritate the gums and mouths of some people. You will be able to talk and work with your mouth tray in place. Good results usually occur in two weeks and the bleaching process can continue until you are happy with your teeth’s appearance. Your dentist will advise you on how long this will be. However, it is not always possible to achieve white teeth.
It’s important to see your dentist regularly while using the tray. Your gums can be checked during this time and any irritations can be addressed although they are usually minor and will settle once treatment is over.
- Ideal for undamaged teeth that only need lightening in colour
- Can be done at home with the custom tray which is also reusable
- Upper and lower teeth can be bleached
- Approved tooth-bleaching products are safe to use
- Not all blemishes will improve. Grey stains won’t get as good results
- Bleach may irritate gums when not cared for properly
- Not suitable for very sensitive or worn teeth or if you have gum disease
- Some white fillings may need to be replaced after bleaching
- Some teeth do not bleach evenly