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Teeth Whitening in London

What is tooth whitening? Just as the name implies, tooth whitening is a process to brighten and boost the colour of natural teeth. It is worth noting that it only […]

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What is tooth whitening?

Just as the name implies, tooth whitening is a process to brighten and boost the colour of natural teeth. It is worth noting that it only works on your own natural teeth, not on any dental work you may have.

This treatment makes up part of our Mini Smile Makeover treatment.

The chemistry behind tooth whitening is by using a peroxide of a specific concentration, you produce a chemical reaction on the ‘internal’ stain within the tooth to neutralise it. Once neutralised it makes its way out of the tooth, leaving the tooth structure itself untouched.

This makes tooth whitening very safe as there is no reduction or loss of your natural tooth. It is worth being aware that there is a natural porosity in all our teeth, and whitening increases the porosity significantly. This is partly what creates the sensitivity that occurs with the treatment. After you complete your two to four week whitening period, the tooth will return to its natural porosity within 2-3 weeks.

Book a consultation with our expert cosmetic dentists

The home tooth whitening procedure

The regime you follow will be prescribed by your dentist, and there are several approaches and protocols available. The ‘evidence base’ shows that night time whitening for a prolonged period gives the most colour stability.

The highest concentrations of tooth whitening gel available in the UK are 10% and 16% carbamide peroxide, which is equivalent to 6% hydrogen peroxide. This is to do with the release and breakdown cycle over a period five hours after exposing the whitening gel.

You will find several of these products available on the internet, and they may be legitimate, but there is a likelihood that the gels are not stored adequately to retain their concentration. Once the gel begins to breakdown, it becomes more acidic which has some side effects when used as a whitening gel.

The first is that the gel will cause more sensitivity, and secondly it would be less effective as the concentration is not as high. We are telling you this so you can be sure to practice safe whitening and not be tempted to take up non-professional whitening, which remain to be illegal in the UK.

Daytime and power in surgery whitening also work, however, the drawback is the stability is not quite as good.


Home systems are undoubtedly more effective to retain the brightness of your teeth. Exposing your teeth to the peroxide tooth whitening gel once in surgery will only give you a short-term boost.

We recommend visiting a tooth whitening dentist like ours at Marylebone Smile Clinic who can then prescribe you a professional tooth whitening programme to follow at home and overnight using peroxide tooth whitening gel.

We use custom made whitening trays with high positive pressure, used with carbamide peroxide at 16% over two or four weeks

As long as you follow our maintenance regime, the results will last forever.

The tooth whitening process itself is painless. However, some pain may be experienced post-treatment due to sensitivity.

Tooth sensitivity after whitening is common for most people and this can range from mild to severe. The good news is that it is temporary, so if you can put up with some discomfort for white teeth, it will be worth it!

There is no data to support whitening as being dangerous during pregnancy, and physiologically, the breakdown products of the gel are oxygen and water, which are both harmless by-products. That being said, deferring cosmetic treatments until post-parturition is advisable.

There is no established risk to whitening whilst breast feeding, however, there are no studies of note to refer to here.

Dead tooth whitening is possible although it is more complicated and comes with potential risks.

If the nerve of the tooth is still alive and the colour of the tooth is just darker or perhaps much darker than the other teeth around it, then whitening is still possible.

On the other hand, if the nerve is no longer active and the tooth is dead then this will need to be treated first. Removal of the tooth and the insertion of a dental implant may be a better option, or a simple root canal procedure to remove the dead pulp from inside of the tooth.

It is important that this is performed before the whitening process as then either your crowned tooth or dental implant can be inserted to match the colour of the rest of your teeth.

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