Information Sheet No 22
Bleaching Treatment & What to Expect

What To Expect During Your Bleaching Treatment Your dentist will give you a bleaching kit to take home with you together with your bleaching trays. It is es- sential that you follow the instructions given by your dentist and the manufacturers’ instructions in wearing the trays and applying the bleaching agent.
This depends on the amount of lightening that you desire and the original shade of teeth. If your teeth are quite dark, or very yellow/grey/tetracycline stained, it will take longer to bleach the teeth. If you are not experiencing any sensitivity, you may wear the trays for at least 1-2 hours.
The darker your teeth, the longer your teeth will take to get lighter. Tetracycline stained teeth can take up 6 months, or up to 1 year to bleach the teeth. Some teeth can whiten after 1 month.
If you cannot wear the trays for a few days, because of your hectic schedule, it does not matter. Bleach your teeth according to your own schedule. Some people put the trays in after dinner, and wear them for the first hour while watching TV or doing the dishes.
Sensitivity of teeth is the most common side effect of home bleaching. In fact, many patients suffer from sen- sitive teeth anyway. This occurs usually around the necks of the teeth, where the gums have receded. If you are experiencing any sensitivity, you should stop bleaching your teeth for a few days. You can resume after about 3-4 days. If the teeth become ultra-sensitive, you can place sensitive toothpaste into the bleaching trays for an hour a day. That will usually stop the sensitivity. Alternatively, you can rub the sensitising tooth- paste into the gum margins with your finger 5 times per day for a few days. If you are at all concerned, What Happens If The Teeth Do Not Bleach Evenly? If the teeth have white spots on them before bleaching, these spots will appear whiter during the first few days. However, the contrast between the spots and the rest of the tooth will be less and eventually they You may notice new white spots occurring on the teeth while you are undertaking the bleaching treatment. These white spots were already present on the teeth before bleaching. As the teeth become lighter, these white spots will become more visible. Do not worry. As the whole tooth itself becomes lighter, these spots will fade. You may notice these white spots immediately after a bleaching session, or in the morning, if you have been wearing the trays for the whole night.
Some teeth may appear banded with lighter/whiter areas. Again, these bandings are originally present on the tooth. As the tooth is dark, these bandings are not obvious. As the tooth becomes lighter, the lighter parts of the tooth will lighten first, followed by the darker banded area. After a week or so, these will not be Information Sheet No 22
Bleaching Treatment & What to Expect

Normally, the teeth feel very clean after the bleaching procedure. The bleaching materials also have an indirect effect on the gums, in helping them to heal or improving the health of the gums. This is how the technique was invented, as it was first used to heal gum irritation during orthodontic treatment.
Your smile will appear brighter as a bonus. It is very rare, but sometimes, the teeth do not lighten at all. If this happens, and you are wearing the bleaching trays as recommended, you may need to try a different bleaching product or a slightly higher concentration of the bleaching material. Discuss this with your dentist.
If you have white fillings in the front teeth that match the existing shade of your teeth before you bleach your teeth, they may not match the teeth afterwards. This is because your teeth can lighten but the fillings do not lighten. When the desired colour has been achieved, the dentist can replace the fillings with a lighter shade of filling material to match the new shade of your teeth. Normally a dentist will wait a week before How Long Does The Bleaching Last? Will I Have To Bleach My Teeth Again ? Normally, the new white colour of your teeth keeps quite well. The effect is dependent on what has caused the teeth to discolour in the first place. If you drink lots of coffee, red wine, cola drinks or eat heavily co- loured foods e.g. curries, the effect may darken slightly. Some patients do a top up treatment after 3-4 years. Some patients do not need to.
Safety studies have shown that bleaching teeth using the dentist prescribed home bleaching technique is perfectly safe on the teeth, cheeks, gum and tissue of the mouth. Bleaching the teeth with the dentist pre- scribed kits is equivalent to drinking one soda drink. The bleaching material has a pH that is neutral.
There are problems with the bleaching kits that are purchased over the counter. Although they are inex- pensive, they normally contain an acid rinse, which can damage the teeth or thin down the enamel of the teeth. This acid rinse can be extremely harmful to the teeth. There was a case where a patient purchased the kit over the counter and bleached the teeth. The teeth went darker and the patient continued over- using the treatment. This was because the acid rinse had worn the enamel away and the darker shade was It is not, however, advisable to bleach your teeth if you smoke. It is best to stop smoking for at least 3 weeks before commencing the bleaching procedure. Smoking causes the teeth to darken anyway and the ef- The technique of bleaching teeth is not for everybody. There are some situations where bleaching teeth is contraindicated, such as where the front teeth are already crowned, or where there are very large fillings on the front teeth, or where the teeth are already excessively worn and there is tooth surface loss. The most ideal situation is where there is not much wrong with the teeth except for the colour, which has become



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