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DIY or take-home teeth whitening is a popular, cost effective alternative to in-chair teeth whitening. Take-home teeth whitening involves regularly wearing a custom made mouthguard for an hour or so, which sets the teeth in a whitening solution. Your dentist provides you with a kit, tailored to your needs.

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Why do I get DIY teeth whitening?

Teeth become discoloured for many of reasons, with the food you eat and lifestyle choices being the biggest culprits. Damage from nicotine and tar can cause teeth to yellow, fast. S Darkly coloured foods and drinks can also cause stains to your teeth.

If you experience any of the following, you may want to consider teeth whitening:

  • Yellow, brown, tarnished teeth
  • Discoloured teeth due to medications such as tetracycline
  • Fluorosis – teeth become pitted or have brown, grey or black spots
  • Standard erosion of outer tooth layer

Benefits of take-home teeth whitening

Take-home teeth whitening has many benefits, above just making your pearly whites brighter. Some patients find in-chair teeth whitening procedures painful, so take-home kits are a pain-free alternative. DIY whitening is convenient, you control when and where you use it, it’s safe, it’s effective and it’s cost effective too.

  • Cost effective
  • Convenient
  • Pain free
  • Long lasting results

How does DIY teeth whitening work?

Yellowed or grey teeth can be caused by two types of stains, extrinsic or intrinsic. Extrinsic stains are on the surface of your tooth. Intrinsic stains are below the enamel and deep inside the dentin of your tooth. Some over-the-counter products such as whitening toothpastes can remove some of the extrinsic stains. But only professional whitening agents that come from your dentist can safely remove deep intrinsic stains.

DIY teeth whitening uses bleach to whiten and brighten your teeth. The solution used contains carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient. This bleach removes stains from the surface of your teeth, and penetrates the tooth enamel to break down the discoloured molecules and remove the stains inside your tooth. By removing the stains both from within and on the surface of your tooth, your teeth remain whiter and brighter for much longer.

How do I get DIY teeth whitening?

Take-home teeth whitening is a convenient long term solution to improving your smile. If you’re interested in teeth whitening, you can discuss this with Dr Wilcox or Dr Cooke in your regular dental checkup appointment or in your dental hygiene appointment.

The process then generally consists of two visits to the Shore Dental clinic.

In the first visit, a mould is taken of your teeth to make customised plastic mouthguards for home treatment. In your second clinic visit, you receive your bleaching trays (mouthguards), a pre-bleaching toothpaste, three tubes of whitening solution (two with 11% carbamide peroxide, one with 16% carbamide peroxide) and instruction booklet. The whitening solution we use is called Designer White.

What you need to do:

  1. Before bleaching, we recommend using a desensitising toothpaste or gel, provided by Shore Dental, for one week prior to treatment.
  2. When you begin treatment, you should wear the bleaching tray with the 11% gel nightly.
  3. For the take-home treatment to be effective, we recommend wearing your tray for 5-6 hours or overnight.
  4. You should aim to wear the trays 4-5 nights out of 7 for an average period of 3 weeks.
  5. Use the 16% gel to top up the results if and when required.

Will I feel discomfort with DIY teeth whitening?

You may experience some hypersensitivity, especially with hot and cold food or drinks. But this isn’t anything to worry about. The sensitive feelings are greatly reduced by following the pre-whitening instructions given to you by Dr Wilcox or Dr Cooke, in particular wearing the desensitising toothpaste for a week prior to beginning whitening treatment. If hypersensitivity continues for more than three weeks, speak to us.

How to extend the longevity of your whitened teeth

Of course you want to keep your whitened teeth bright for as long as possible. Here are a few things you can do to maintain your whitened teeth for longer:

  • Avoid food and drinks that stain, such as tea, coffee, red wine, curry and beetroot.
  • Don’t smoke
  • You should stick to the guidelines set by Dr Wilcox or Dr Cooke as closely as possible. Whitening trays are usually worn 4-5 nights a week, for an average period of three weeks. This can be prolonged if teeth are particularly dark or a grey shade.
  • Once your whitening treatment has finished, use your whitening trays periodically to top up.
  • Use your whitening tray the night before an event to ensure that extra sparkle on the day.

How do I get DIY teeth whitening?

It is important to make an appointment to assess your suitability for teeth whitening at least one month before you wish to begin treatment. Call or fill out a contact form to set-up your first appointment today.