Category Archives: Dental

How Dangerous Is Teeth Whitening?

In search of that perfect white smile many people have turned to teeth whitening products and procedures but without fully understanding that there may be risks attached. Many High Street chemists sell tooth whitening kits and some beauty parlours even offer to carry out the procedure at a much lower price than a trained dental professional or dentist. But the old adage “if it seems too good to be true it probably is” applies here to the full extent. Not all kits work as well as they claim and some can be dangerous to your dental and physical health.

Risks Attached

Having your teeth cleaned, polished and whitened by a dental professional is the safest method of achieving that sought-after perfect smile. Buying a tooth whitening system and doing it yourself at home may be cheaper but there could be long-term detrimental after-effects. As sales of DIY tooth whitening kits have increased in recent years so has the number of people seeking dental attention for problems caused by home treatment.

These problems include:

  • Gum irritation
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Damaged roots
  • Damage to existing dental work
  • Chemical burns from leaking gel
  • Sickness from swallowing the whitening agent

While many home tooth whitening kits are safe to use this may not always be the case and extreme caution should be taken before even considering making a purchase either online or in shops. The British Dental Association (BDA) warns that many manufacturers fail to disclose the exact chemical composition of their products making it difficult to evaluate their safety. One UK online retailer was selling teeth whitening kits that contained sodium perborate, a chemical banned by the European Union and linked to infertility and cases of foetal abnormalities.

Does Tooth Whitening Work?

For 90% of patients tooth whitening works very well but that percentage applies to people who were treated by professionals and not those who carried out the procedure themselves. Teeth will naturally discolour with age and everyday habits like smoking, drinking tea, coffee, red wine and even certain medications will dull their natural whiteness. Sometimes all that is required is a thorough cleaning by a dentist to remove most of the discolouration but sometimes tooth whitening will be necessary. Yellowed teeth will generally respond well to whitening treatment while it may not achieve the same results on brown-coloured teeth. Before deciding to have any whitening procedure it is advisable to consult with a dental professional to determine if tooth whitening is suitable for you and advise of any possible complications that may arise.

Better Safe Than Sorry

There are literally dozens of products on the market that claim to whiten your teeth but how many can you trust to deliver on that promise and are they safe to use? Dentists and dental clinics are fully trained to not only clean and whiten teeth but to do so in a regulated and safe manner. A qualified dentist will treat each case on an individual basis and carry out examinations to be sure the client is suitable for treatment and which form of whitening is best. Certainly you can be lucky with an over-the-counter tooth whitening kit which may work wonders for your smile but, then again, you may not! It would be far better and safer to put yourself in the hands of someone who is trained and qualified in teeth whitening procedures than run the risk of damaging your teeth, gums or worse!

Are Dental Veneers Right for You?

Dental veneers are thin, custom-made shell coverings designed to protect teeth and also to enhance their appearance. Often made from either porcelain or composite resin, they are applied to the front of a single tooth, or several teeth simultaneously, through a bonding process. Both the porcelain and composite resin types have different advantages, which can be discussed with your dentist in order to determine which ones are the best fit for you.

Dental veneers fix or improve a number of common patient complaints. They easily cover broken or chipped teeth, which helps to protect the affected area from further damage, while at the same time restoring a complete, healthy smile. Individuals with teeth that are worn down, as a result of grinding, for example, can also benefit from veneers. In addition, they can help patients with teeth that are improperly aligned or uneven.

For individuals who suffer from gaps between the teeth, dental veneers can provide an alternative when braces are not an option, or when they are undesirable to the patient. Without the hassle of braces, veneers can be fitted to give the appearance of a full, gapless set of teeth.

Veneers can also hide stains that prove difficult or impossible to remove. Whether teeth have been stained as a result of drug or root canal treatments, or simply from the use of common tooth-staining foods and beverages, dental veneers can bring back that coveted sparkling whiteness in any lacklustre smile.

Generally, there are a few main differences between the two types of veneers. The porcelain ones have a more natural appearance and a higher resistance to stains. They require fabrication by a technician in a dental laboratory and often take up to two weeks to create. The composite resin ones are typically thinner than their porcelain counterparts. Because of this, it isn’t necessary to remove as much enamel from the surface of the tooth as compared with a porcelain application. With resin veneers, your dentist may be able to place them directly onto your teeth, without needing to order them from a lab.

The process of getting dental veneers usually involves an initial consultation, an appointment for preparation, and, finally, the veneer application. To prepare the teeth, enamel is removed from the surface of the teeth in an amount approximate to the size of the dental veneer. The final step is when the veneer is carefully applied and bonded to the teeth by your dentist, ensuring a perfect fit and giving you a permanent, beautiful, brand new smile.


Why Are Dental Implants Expensive?

The various factors contributing to the expense of dental implants

Why are dental implants so expensive? This is a common question posed by those who are considering undergoing the procedure. The expense of implants can be attributed to several factors, including the complex and labour intensive nature of the procedure, longevity of the implants and price differentials that are further explained below.

Complex and labour intensive procedure

Implant dentistry is more complex than traditional dentistry, coming within the category of restoration dentistry. The specialised nature of a dental implant procedure requires the skills of an oral surgeon, periodontist, or a dentist trained in implantology.

Dental implants require a tremendous amount of time, planning and work to be undertaken in a number of stages, in order to achieve a successful implantation. An initial consultation incorporating dental imaging is required in order to develop a customised treatment plan for the patient. Two implant appointments are generally required, one to place the titanium implant into the jaw and the other to situate the crown and abutment. Subsequent procedures may also be required, such as adjustment to the implant.


The initial outlay for the procedure is balanced by the longevity of this treatment option for dental restoration. Implants have significant strength and are not prone to decay. Alternative options such as bridges have a shorter lifespan and must be replaced on a more frequent basis. The longevity of the implants makes it a worthwhile, cost-effective option in the long-term.

Price differentials

Considerable price differentials with regard to the provision of the procedure exist, due to the level of competition and geographical area of the treatment provider.

To stay competitive, treatment providers may publicise and quote implant prices at a level below that of other close providers. However, it is important to comprehend the extent of services that are being outlined by the provider. Treatment providers may advertise a price for the entirety of dental implant work, which incorporates the cost of the initial consultation, subsequent appointments and material. This price may seem expensive in comparison to other providers, who may only outline the price for the placing of the implant during an appointment.

The geographical area in which a treatment provider operates can also have a sizeable effect upon the price quoted for dental implants. The price for dental implants in countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States is considerably higher than that charged in countries such as Mexico, Thailand and India. Dental tourism is therefore becoming increasingly popular among those looking to undergo the procedure at a lower price.  When factoring in the travel required to get this procedure done abroad, you will most likely find that you wouldn’t be much better off financially.

Teeth Whitening – Home vs Professional

Dental procedures, whether essential, or done for cosmetic reasons, can be very expensive. Whilst A-list movie stars and entertainers can afford cosmetic dentistry running into thousands of pounds, other people have to explore more cost-effective ways of making the best of the teeth they have. This is why, over the last decade, there has been an explosion in the demand for teeth whitening and teeth whitening products. But how do the different options available compare?

Home Treatments

There is a range of teeth whitening products that can be used at home without dental supervision. These include, whitening rinses, whitening toothpaste and gel strips, all of which bring results only after prolonged use. More expensive kits, such as whitening trays, mirror techniques used by dentists. The trays are filled with whitening solution and attached to the teeth. The trays have to be worn for a specified period each day for several weeks and are reported to give good results.

Dentist Supervised Treatment

Treatments used by dentists are based on whitening trays, however, unlike those for home use, a mould is made of the persons teeth so that the trays fit comfortably without the irritation and chaffing sometimes associated with do-it-yourself kits. The whitening chemical used by dentists (carbon peroxide or hydrogen based peroxide) is stronger than in solutions designed for home use. The treatment is usually carried out over one to four visits lasting a couple of hours each before teeth are lighter by 4-8 shades.

Accelerated Treatment

For the fastest results the teeth are exposed to halogen light during the whitening process. This is the most expensive option, but depending on the severity and type of staining, an 8 shade improvement is achievable in only one or two treatments lasting an hour each.

The Advantage Of Using A Dentist

Teeth whitening is not as straightforward as it might seem. The chemical used is effectively a type of bleach and should be used with caution, particularly where there is gum sensitivity. Teeth can become stained for many reasons and a dentist will advise on how best to remove the staining, carry out treatment while protecting gums and other dental work, like crowns and implants, and make sure treatment is not taken too far. Using the services of a dentist is much quicker than applying home methods, is safer and less messy.