This procedure has been around for a while but most publicised by the recent reality series Extreme Makeover. Natural teeth age and this not just means wear and tear, it also includes yellowing or darkening of the enamel and dentine, the main components of the tooth. The likely causes are the absorbtion of various stains we introduce to our mouth in the food, drinks and of course smoking.
To create a whiter set of teeth dentists provide what is known as "Teeth whitening" which is a process where we use an oxidant called carbamide peroxide and a high intensity plasma light to quickly whiten yellowed teeth in the clinic. This procedure is performed entirely in the clinic for about an hour or so. In the clinic under strictly controlled protocol, concentrated peroxide gels can be applied safely on your teeth because we have protected the surrounding tissues carefully. This sort of treatment should not be performed by untrained personnel and should never be attempted at home. Only the lower concentration bleaching systems meant for home whitening should be used in order to be safe.
With the "In-Clinic" systems the concentrated carbamide peroxide gels manage to penetrate the layer of enamel in about an hour. Home-bleach systems which are much diluted take considerably longer to achieve the same results but can be effective when used as directed.
In our clinic we use the BRITESMILE system which has proved extremely effective. A single seating treatment will usually achieve an average reduction of 5-6 shades and often much more. This is equivalent to turning back the clock by 10 to 15-years. To achieve the extreme white that is seen on the smiles of movie stars, requires several whitening sessions but the effect while impressive is by the same token, highly artificial and serves as a distraction rather than an attraction.