A Discussion about Dental Health and Teeth Whitening Blog

25 September 2016

A Discussion about Dental Health and Teeth Whitening

Whether we know it or not, most of us show our teeth a lot, especially in social situations where we are laughing, smiling, and talking in an animated manner. This means that everyone else is seeing our teeth and while this may not be of great consequence for some people, for those with stained teeth it can have a devastating impact on self-esteem, self-confidence, and their social life. In fact, some people in this situation even feel as if they cannot go out and simply isolate themselves in order to guard against extreme embarrassment. For these people, a teeth whitening process from a professional and qualified dentist is ideal.

Why Our Teeth Become Stained

Our teeth have a lifecycle. We start life with no teeth at all, and then our first teeth begin to grow. As we get older and develop, we lose these teeth and they are replaced by our adult teeth. These are the teeth we will have for life, and they must be cleaned and their health must be maintained at regular intervals. The problem is that over time our teeth become stained by foods we eat such as coffee and wine, whether we are smokers, and how effectively we brush and keep them clean.

The Benefits of Teeth Whitening

There are now some very simple but effective dental techniques that can whiten teeth. In fact, many dentists now offer a whitening service that can be completed over several quick sessions in the dental chair. What many dentists have noticed is that after a tooth whitening program, most of their patients have experienced a great boost in self-confidence and self-esteem.

Given the devastating impact that stained and discoloured teeth can have on a person’s social life, whitening teeth is more often about helping people to cope in life and providing them a way out of their feelings of embarrassment. Various whitening procedures exist, and include:

  • Gel: One of the most common processes involves a special whitening gel that is applied directly to teeth. This can be applied by a dentist across several visits and allows him or her to use a more powerful gel substance. He or she may also use UV light to speed up the bleaching process. To do it at home, the dentist can produce an exact mould of teeth and then make a high-grade mouthpiece that fits snugly over the teeth. This can then be filled with the gel by the patient at home for whitening.
  • Toothpaste: Some people opt for a whitening toothpaste that contains an abrasive substance that roughens the surface of teeth and clears away the stains over time. Though toothpaste is popular, a tooth whitening process using hydrogen peroxide gel and laser treatment is typically faster and more effective.

Whitening teeth is considered a cosmetic procedure, but the obvious boost to self-confidence that can occur after the procedure has been completed successfully shows that it is of great benefit to patients. In fact, some people find it a life-changing procedure. This makes it more than merely just another cosmetic procedure for some.

Covid-19 and your care

We have now received clear guidance as to what dental procedures we can safely carry out and at what stages during the pandemic.

Below is a summary of the guidance as we understand it, although this may modify over the next few days as some small inconsistencies are clarified.

The government has set five different risk levels for the pandemic 1-5 (low to high), although this changes on a daily basis.

The treatments that we can carry out safely in dental practice will change with the risk level.

Treatments are significantly limited at level 4.

During the next few weeks, we will attempt to contact each patient that has contacted us with a significant dental problem during lockdown, and we hope to book an assessment appointment for those patients in the week commencing 8th June.

Practice doors will be locked at level 3, 4 and 5. Entry to the practice will be limited to pre-booked appointments.

There will be very clear criteria provided in due course as what is required before arriving at the practice, and what the procedure will be upon arrival. We will endeavour to ensure that each person knows exactly what to expect at their visit as this will be quite different to what you have been used to.

The appointment diary will be structured to take into consideration those patients who are shielding, may have underlying medical issues and so on.

The first week is expected to be a slow start as we ensure that the new protocols are working effectively for everyone’s safety. These protocols will be audited and modified until required.

At level 4 we should be able to carry out the following:

Dental assessment (initially restricted to patients who have current urgent need, or did and contacted us during lockdown).

X rays but only for patients who tolerate them well.

TEMPORARY re cementation of crowns. (We cannot dry the tooth effectively enough to cement a crown permanently with the restrictions we face).

Fabrication or repair of removable dentures.

Simple dental extractions. If a tooth breaks, it is probable we will have to leave the roots in place until we are at a lower level of risk. Naturally, we will assess the risk very carefully prior to treatment.

Tightening of loose dental implants if possible, without using a high-speed handpiece (drill).

Temporary fillings.

Draining of a swelling/abscess.

Provision of antibiotics.

Trimming of sharp orthodontic wires (not reliable re cementation of loose brackets, or replacement of missing brackets).

Treatment is only to be offered after careful assessment.

Cosmetic orthodontics

Cheshire Dental Centre provide many of these treatments. We may now be able to progress some of our Quick Straight Teeth cases. We will be in touch with each patient shortly, but please allow us to contact you; we hope that it is understandable that we will be prioritising patients with urgent dental need.

The PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements for the above are not too onerous, and we will not look too different to normal. As you are aware, the cross-infection control at Cheshire Dental Centre has always been exemplary and one of our top priorities.

Although we have been organised with the new PPE guidelines well in advance there may be the occasional time where we are awaiting stock. All practices are attempting to source the necessary PPE we need to keep you and us safe, but supplies are scarce and consequently very expensive.