Saturday, November 5, 2011

What about Teeth Whitening ?

 Teeth whitening is a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface.
Why whiten my teeth?
White teeth look great- attractive, youthful and clean. Few people have naturally white teeth, and teeth can become darker with age. Smoking and drinks such as tea, coffee and red wine will also progressively darken the teeth.
What does teeth whitening involve?
Teeth whitening is a bleaching process that lightens discoloration and removes stains from within the enamel of the teeth. During your consultation the procedure will be discussed with you to determine if tooth whitening is suitable in your case. Teeth whitening does not affect the colour of artificial teeth, crowns, veneers or fillings. An impression of your teeth is taken with a dental compound. This is used to make thin, clear trays, which fit snugly over your teeth. You are given syringes of gel that contain a 15% carbamide peroxide bleaching agent. You simply place some of the gel in the tray and fit it over your teeth for a few hours daily for one to three weeks. You need to wear the tray for at least three hours each day- or overnight if you prefer. We will see you again to review progress after two weeks.
Is the process safe?
Yes. Research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth with carbamide peroxide and/or hydrogen peroxide under the supervision of a dentist is safe for teeth and gums.
How much does it cost?
Teeth whitening at Studental costs £198. This includes: impressions, upper and lower whitening trays, storage case, six syringes of whitening gel (usually enough for about three weeks of whitening if necessary), a follow-up appointment and advice.
How long will my teeth stay whiter?
The effects of whitening normally last for many years, although this will vary from person to person. Inevitably with time the teeth will start to darken again due to drinks and food (and more rapidly if you are a smoker). Most people like to maintain their whitening effect by using the gel for one or two nights every three to six months. Additional syringes of gel can be purchased for £15 each.
Is teeth whitening OK for everyone?
Teeth whitening can only lighten the existing colour of your natural teeth. It will not work on any types of ‘false’ teeth such as crowns, veneers or dentures. These may need replacing if they are stained or are the wrong colour. If you have white fillings, these will not change and may also need to be replaced to match your whitened teeth.
What if I am pregnant?
To date, there has been no testing done on the effects of teeth whitening while pregnant or breast-feeding. To be cautious we recommend that you do not have your teeth whitened during pregnancy.
Are there any side effects?
Most people find that their teeth become sensitive to cold during the treatment. This lessens after a few days, but you may find you need to have a break from whitening for a day or so or use a toothpaste such as “Sensodyne” to reduce the effect. If you have natural white flecks in your enamel these will become more apparent during treatment but will fade following treatment.

Are there other methods?
Yes: “Zoom”, “power whitening” and “laser whitening” are all techniques which are completed at a single visit in the surgery. They use extra strong gels kept on the teeth for an hour and activated using bright lights. There are some disadvantages to this technique: it is more expensive (typically £450-600), can be painful and can produce a less long-term shade change of the teeth; largely due to dehydration of the enamel.
What about whitening toothpastes?
Whitening toothpastes do not affect the natural colour of your teeth. They may be effective at removing staining and may help maintain the effect of professional whitening.
What about home kits?
Home kits are cheap, but are usually not very effective. Over-thecounter kits sold in the UK are not recommended as they contain only a very small concentration of peroxide (the whitening agent). To be effective gels need to have at least 3.6%. Many home kits contain mild acids and/or abrasives. Acid or abrasives used on the teeth will ultimately make the teeth even yellower with time by damaging the enamel of your teeth.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Evidence shows that proper dental care and oral hygiene maintenance vastly decrease dental problems and are essential to childhood health and well-being. Evidence indicates that Schools of the 21st Century provide precisely the mix of education and services to improve students’ oral health and overall well-being. In this issue brief, we examine how Schools of the 21st Century implement cost-effective and efficient dental care programs.
Extent of the Problem
Tooth decay and other preventable dental problems begin early; more than a quarter of children age 2 to 5 had decayed baby teeth. Approximately half of children have had cavities by the age of 11. By the age of 19, tooth decay in one or more permanent teeth affects 68 percent of adolescents.
Yet, more than 25 percent of poor children enter kindergarten never having seen a dentist.
Dental problems negatively impact a student’s ability to attend and participate fully in school. Tooth decay may result in pain, poor nutrition, dysfunctional speech, lack of concentration, poor appearance, low self-esteem, and absenteeism. According to the US Surgeon General, American schoolchildren lose more than 51 million school hours each year due to dental problems.
Tooth decay becomes larger and more expensive to repair when left untreated. Both preventing tooth decay and treating existing dental problems are essential to good childhood health and well-being.
Key Risk Factors Related to Poor Dental Health
Understanding the roots of dental problems is important to determine appropriate school-based interventions. These are discussed as follows.
Affordability of Dental Care
As with health care, dental care can be prohibitively expensive for families. More than 20 million American children lack dental insurance and uninsured children are 2.5 times less likely to receive dental care than insured children, detailed in the table on the following page.

Tooth decay is the single most common—and preventable—chronic childhood disease. In the United States, childhood tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever.
Schools are uniquely suited to promote oral health; research shows that school-based oral health programs can reduce tooth decay and promote oral health.


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