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Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment which involves bleaching your teeth to make them whiter. The best way to keep your smile healthy and bright is to look after your teeth and gums, but it’s not unusual to need a little help. You might consider teeth whitening for different reasons. Your teeth can lose their whiteness with age but can also become stained by smoking or drinking lots of tea, coffee or red wine.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening involves bleaching your teeth to make them lighter. It can’t make your teeth brilliant white, but it can lighten the existing colour by several shades.

Who can do teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should only be carried out by a dentist or another regulated dental professional, such as a dental hygienist or dental therapist, on the prescription of a dentist.

Some beauty salons offer teeth whitening, but this is illegal if there’s no dental professional present, and it may put your oral health at risk.

You can also buy DIY home teeth whitening kits but these may also carry risks.

What happens during teeth whitening?

If you have your teeth whitened you’ll first need to make 2 to 3 visits to the dental surgery.

The dentist will take an impression of your teeth to make a mouthguard and tell you how to use it with a bleaching gel. Then, using your mouthguard at home, you regularly apply the gel for a specified period of time over a few weeks. Some whitening gels can be left on for up to 8 hours at a time, which can shorten the treatment period.

Laser whitening, also known as power whitening, is another type of teeth whitening system that a dentist can provide. A bleaching product is painted onto your teeth and then a light or laser is shone on them to activate the whitening. Laser whitening takes about an hour.

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