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  • Elegant Smiles, 2 Woolram Wygate, Spalding, PE11 1NX
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Teeth whitening is a safe and easy way to brighten the colour of your teeth. At Heckington and Tulip Dental Practices we offer the at-home tooth-whitening system. This involves wearing a custom-made tray containing whitening gel for up to 12 applications. There are options available for day or night applications at home, depending on your level of sensitivity and preferences. During your appointments, the shade of your teeth will be recorded. As the shade will change gradually over the treatment, you can decide to stop treatment whenever you feel your teeth are bright enough.

Your dentist will take impressions and make custom whitening trays which fit snugly over your teeth. High-quality trays are crucial to getting a good result.

The first application is applied in surgery. We can show you how to load the gel into the trays and check the solution is suitable for your teeth and gums prior to starting treatment.

How long should I wear the trays for?

This depends on the amount of lightening that you desire and the original shade of your teeth. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to accurately predict the outcome of bleaching a person’s teeth.

If your teeth are relatively light to start with, the process will generally take a matter of a few weeks. Most teeth will do well after 12 sessions.

Alternatively, if your teeth are quite dark or very yellow/grey or tetracycline stained, it will take longer to bleach the teeth. The darker your teeth, the longer your teeth will take to get lighter. Severely tetracycline-stained teeth, in extreme cases, can take 6 months or even up to one year to bleach.

Younger teeth are easier to bleach due to greater porosity. The lighter the stain, the better the response.

Fillings and crowns/bridges will not change colour with whitening and may need replacement to improve the overall appearance. Cosmetic restorations should not be replaced until at least 2 weeks after completion of treatment as the bonding process is less effective prior to this.

What are the side effects?

Some people may find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others may have discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of the treatment finishing.

Tooth sensitivity is the most common side effect of home bleaching. If you are experiencing more than a little sensitivity you should stop bleaching for a few days.

Start using desensitizing toothpaste for about a week before you begin whitening. Continue to use this during the treatment and for about a week afterwards.

What if I already have sensitive teeth?

Don’t worry, you can still do some whitening! You will have to put in a little more work to keep the levels of sensitivity manageable during the treatment, but it’s certainly possible.

Mention your sensitivity to your dentist, pointing out any individual teeth which are a particular problem.

Start using a desensitizing toothpaste if you don’t already do so.

For one week prior to using the whitening gel, fill your whitening trays with Tooth Mousse (made by GC) and wear for 15-30 minutes each day. This product is made from milk proteins which can help repair areas of damaged tooth structure and reduce sensitivity.

When you begin the whitening process, wear the trays with Tooth Mousse for up to 30 minutes immediately prior to each whitening session.

Once you have finished whitening your teeth, continue using Tooth Mousse daily for a week.

What happens if the tooth does not bleach evenly?

If the teeth have white spots on them before bleaching, these spots will appear whiter during the first few days. However, the contrast between the spots and the rest of the tooth will gradually lessen over the course of the treatment and eventually will not be noticeable.

How long does the bleaching last? Will I have to bleach my teeth again?

Normally the new whiter colour of your teeth remains for several years. This will be influenced by what you eat, drink and smoke. Some patients need a top up after 3-4 years.

What foods/products cause staining?

The following are especially damaging:

  • Foods like soy sauce, curry, red wine, coffee, and tea.
  • Foods that are slightly acidic. These open up the pores of the tooth enamel, allowing stains to more easily move into your teeth.
  • Smoking
  • Extremely hot or cold liquids. These cause teeth to expand and contract, allowing stains to penetrate your teeth.

How can I look after my teeth once they have been whitened?

You can help to keep your teeth white by cutting down on the amount of food and drinks you have that can stain teeth. Don’t forget, stopping smoking can also help prevent discolouration and staining.

We recommend the following tips to take care of your teeth:

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.

A few words of warning

Professional tooth whitening is very safe and highly successful; however illegal, unregulated tooth-whitening continues to be a problem in the UK. Only dentists and other suitably qualified healthcare professionals are legally allowed to prescribe tooth-whitening gels and it is illegal to provide these gels to patients under 18 years of age (except in some exceptional circumstances). Unregulated tooth-whitening is dangerous, whether it is found online or on the high street, your health could be put at risk by using the wrong products or by using them incorrectly. By going to a dentist for tooth-whitening, you can be confident that you are receiving the correct materials in safe but effective concentrations, and that if you do experience any unexpected problems you can seek professional help and advice.

Zoom® Whitening

Zoom® is a bleaching process widely used throughout the country and around the world to lighten discolouration of enamel and dentin. Tooth discolouration may result from drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine or from smoking. The ageing process can also stain and darken your teeth. The Zoom® in-office tooth whitening procedure uses the Zoom® Advanced Power Chairside Lamp – said to accelerate the bleaching process – to activate the 25 percent hydrogen peroxide whitening. As the hydrogen peroxide is broken down, oxygen enters the enamel and dentine to bleach the stained substances, leaving the structure of the tooth unchanged. Philips Zoom® whitens 6 shades in 1 hour.

Consultation and Treatment Planning

Before deciding whether Zoom® in-office teeth-whitening is right for you, your dentist will conduct a comprehensive examination of your teeth and gums to ensure proper health, as well as talk with you about your oral hygiene and lifestyle habits to determine if you will benefit from whitening. This will help you and your dentist agree on the whitening product or technique that’s best for you.

Your dentist also may require you to undergo whitening if you are planning other cosmetic dental procedures, such as veneers, composite bonding or edge bonding, in order to ensure a better match between the restoration and your natural dentition, or after the removal of braces.

During your consultation and evaluation, your dentist also will note existing dental work, such as crowns and veneers, which will not respond to conventional whitening agents. Teeth with composite bonding already present will also not respond to whitening.

The Zoom® Procedure

The complete procedure takes less than an hour. Teeth cleaning is recommended prior to the actual Zoom® teeth-whitening session with the therapist/hygienist.

The procedure begins with a short preparation to cover the lips and gums, leaving the teeth exposed. The dentist or dental assistant then applies the Zoom® hydrogen peroxide whitening gel, which works together with the Zoom® light, to penetrate the teeth and break up the stains and discoloration.

The gel remains in place for 15 minutes while the light is activated. During this time, you can relax, watch TV or listen to music as it’s totally stress-free.

The gel is applied for three x 15-minute sessions of light activation, for a total treatment time of 45 minutes. Individuals with a strong gag reflex or anxiety may have difficulty undergoing the entire procedure.

Immediately afterwards, a sensitivity-reducing fluoride paste-gel is applied to the teeth.

Aftercare: Maintaining Whitening Effects

You will be given a Zoom® home-use touch-up kit that includes custom-fitted whitening trays. Follow your dentist’s instructions for when and how to use this touch-up kit.

To help maintain the whitening effects of your treatment, your dentist may advise you to avoid certain foods and beverages or consume them in moderation to avoid staining your teeth. This includes tea, coffee, red wine, cola, etc.

Additionally, tobacco products will stain teeth, even after whitening treatments. As such, your dentist will suggest you quit using them. Maintain an appropriate oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) regimen to prevent stains from reforming and see your dentist and hygienist regularly for scheduled teeth cleanings.

Toothpaste containing whitening agents also may be suggested by your dentist to maintain the results of the procedure.


Sensitivity during the treatment may occur in some people. The Zoom® light produces minimal heat, which is usually the source of discomfort.

Rarely, minor tingling is experienced immediately after the procedure but always dissipates. Ask your dentist for an anti-sensitivity toothpaste prior to treatment to lessen sensitivity.

As with other whitening products, Zoom® is not recommended for children under 13 years of age, or for pregnant or lactating women.

It is also important to remember that whitening treatment may not be as effective for some people as it is for others. Only your dentist can determine if teeth-whitening is right for you after performing a thorough oral examination that includes a shade assessment.

Cost and Treatment Time

The cost of Zoom® teeth-whitening includes the supplemental take-home trays designed to maximize results. Most cosmetic dentistry treatments are not covered by dental insurance. Zoom® costs are therefore unaffected by most insurance plans.

Treatment time varies; however, average Zoom® chair time is approximately one hour.


For more information regarding this treatment

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  • Elegant Smiles, 2 Woolram Wygate, Spalding, PE11 1NX
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