News & media News Nine things you really need to know about tooth whitening 8 September 2015 Thoughts on tooth whitening have shifted dramatically over that last several years with many people now considering it as a must have rather than a luxury. But what are facts around tooth whitening that you really must know before going ahead with treatment? The British Dental Health Foundation has taken at look at what you really need to know about tooth whitening. 1. Not everybody is equal So you have decided to get your teeth whitened. There are many reasons why you may have decided to do this. Everybody is different and very few people have brilliantly white teeth, they may become discoloured with age or stained through the food and drink you consume. All you know is that you want them whiter, but be sure that you know the reason best for you. 2. Do your research! There are many ways to get your teeth whitened but not all are equal. Professional bleaching from your dentist is the most common method but this is not suitable for everyone. There are many home-kits you can pick up from the supermarket and you may even look at laser whitening. Always consult your dentist before anything as the wrong treatment may result in permanent damage. 3. Whitening is safe as long as you are smart It is illegal for anyone other than a regulated dental professional to perform professional tooth whitening. You may see a sign up in your salon offering treatment but be warned this may lead to all kinds of trouble and you are putting yourself at risk. A professional will discuss with you what treatment is appropriate to you and develop your treatment plan to give you your desired result. 4. It's going to cost you.....probably You probably already may know this but getting your teeth whiter professionally may not be cheap. Costs vary depending on treatment with prices ranging from £200 to well over £1000, with laser whitening generally more expensive than bleaching. 5. Time is relative Want brilliant white teeth tomorrow? Well it's just not going to happen; usually treatment will take three to four weeks depending on which option you choose. But then again the best things always come to those who wait. 6. Nothing is perfect Tooth whitening can only whiten your existing colour. Always get advice from a dental professional to ensure that you are not in for disappointment. If you fall into this category and really must have whiter teeth then veneers or crowns may be an option, but ensure to discuss this thoroughly with a dental professional. 7. Don't be afraid When carried out by trained hands tooth whitening should not be something to be scared of as it has very minor side effects, if any at all. Some people may have some minor sensitivity or discomfort around the gums but these are usually temporary and will disappear within a few days of treatment. 8. No permanent fix - the hard work is down to you The dentists work is done and your teeth are the shade you are after, what now? Well the hard work does not end there. To ensure your teeth stay exactly as you want them the hard work is over to you. You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain teeth. Also stopping smoking will also help prevent discolouration and staining 9. There are always risks but there is always somebody to help As with any treatment there is always something more you can find out if you look hard enough. You can get more information on tooth whitening and many more aspects of oral health from our Tell me about section on the website.