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Guide to teeth whitening

We’re seeing a large increase in interest towards teeth whitening treatment and with that comes lots of questions about how it works, side-effects etc. So we’ve created a list of the most common questions we receive in relation to teeth whitening along with our answers. If your question is not answered in this post then feel free to email us ( and we’ll get back to you.

What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is when the colour of one or more teeth is lightened so that it becomes whiter in appearance.

How does teeth whitening work?

Teeth whitening can happen in a variety of ways but they’re consistent in that hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide is used to whiten the surface of one or more teeth. The amount of hydrogen peroxide used varies depending on the patient chooses to have their teeth whitened. The peroxide helps open the pores on your teeth so that the deep layers within them can be whitened.

How long does teeth whitening take?

The time taken varies depending on the treatment. Brushing daily with a whitening toothpaste will take around four to five minutes of your day whilst some treatments like whitening strips or trays are usually applied before sleeping and they remain in your mouth overnight. Laser teeth whitening takes around 45 minutes with several sessions over a few weeks.

What is the fastest way to whiten teeth?

The fastest way is to use laser teeth whitening or as some refer to it “power whitening”. It takes around 45 minutes although depending on the gravity of change you’re looking for it may take multiple sessions.

What is the cheapest way to whiten teeth?

The cheapest way to whiten teeth is to try and prevent them becoming stained in the first plance by maintaining good oral hygiene and minimising the intake of food and drinks that are known to stain teeth. If however you’ve already developed staining then the cheapest way is to incorporate whitening toothpastes and mouthwash into your daily brushing routine. Even consider switching your toothbrush for a whitening brush and floss daily.

What is the best value way to whiten teeth?

It really does depend on what level of whitening you wish to achieve but if you’re simply looking for visibly whiter teeth in as little time as possible then home whitening kits or trays are good value for money.

Are there any benefits to having whiter teeth?

There are no health benefits to whitening your teeth but it is fairly accepted view that whiter teeth are more attractive and improve someone's perceived health or self confidence.

Does teeth whitening always work?

Not always. Teeth whitening will not work on artificial materials such as dentures, fillings, veneers or crowns. The type of teeth whitening treatment you use will also affect how noticeably whiter your teeth become.

Are there teeth whitening side effects?

The most common side effect is heightened but temporary tooth sensitivity. Other side effects can include sore throat, gums and patches across your gums or teeth. Side effects are usually temporary but you should speak to a dentist if you’re concerned. To minimise side effects always speak to a dentist BEFORE starting any teeth whitening treatment. They know your teeth very well and will be able to advise as to which treatment is best for your needs and whether you should expect side effects.

Are home whitening kits or whitening trays dangerous?

If your dentist provides the home whitening kit and you follow their guidance then there is very little chance of something going wrong and in the unlikely event that it did then they’ll be perfectly placed to help you. If you use a kit that you bought online or received from a friend then the risks of danger increase substantially as you don’t know where it came from or what is in it.

How effective is whitening toothpaste and mouthwash?

Because whitening toothpaste and mouthwash are available from any supermarket or cosmetic shop without prescription then manufacturers cannot legally add anything beyond very small quantities of peroxide into their products. This means their whitening power is low and at best they’ll remove surface stains but not actually whiten the tooth. They’re great for maintaining teeth that have been professionally whitened but not for radically whitening your teeth.

How do keep my teeth white post treatment?

For the first 48 hours after you teeth whitening treatment your teeth will be able to absorb stains faster than before so you need to minimise the amount of foods or drinks you consume that are likely to stain your teeth. If you can, then try to minimise these foods or drinks where possible for as long as possible. Aside from that make sure you brush and rinse twice daily as well as floss daily to minimise the chances of food deposits causing stains.


Teeth whitening at Osborne Family Dentists

Osborne Family Dentists can provide all of the advice that you need in relation to the safe whitening of your teeth and what the best options are for you. Our cosmetic teeth whitening treatments are available from £395 and this includes an initial free consultation to discuss your needs.

Contact us

Tel: 0191 230 4565 Email:

Newcastle dentist clinic: 16-18 Hood Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE1 6JQ

North Shields dentist clinic: 3 Nile Street, North Shields, NE29 0BE

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