External dental whitening comprises placing a gel on the teeth, activating it over 2 or 3 10-minute sessions in the chair and, then, complementing this using a lower concentration of gel for 3 nights. This is supported by the creation of a type of protective denture which keeps the gel in the mouth during the patient’s sleep cycle.
It is a very simple and effective treatment which may produce a slight sensitivity in the teeth for a few hours. Remember, this treatment may not have the same effect in all cases. Some people experience impressive results while others merely have a slight improvement. Enamel porosity and the initial tone of the tooth are elements which need be considered when estimating by how many tones the colour of the tooth may be lightened.
The patient needs to know the results are not permanent. Drinks such as tea, coffee and wine and smoking bring back the original tone much earlier than expected.
In general, for patients who consume few or none of these drinks and who do not smoke, the treatment tends to last from 6 to 12 months.
Whitening should be undertaken in line with recovery times for the tooth. It is recommended to have no more than two treatments per year.