Has your smile got The X Factor?

December 8th, 2014

With series eleven of The X-Factor drawing to a close, Cheryl and her fellow judges must be looking forward to a quiet Saturday night in. For the last few months they have appeared live on ITV on Saturday and Sunday nights, with their outfits, hair, makeup and comments on display to the nation. At least they can be certain of one thing: their smiles won’t let them down. For Cheryl, Simon and Louis have all had their teeth whitened, meaning a glistening smile each time they beam for the camera.

Tooth whitening can be a really effective way to improve the appearance of teeth by lightening the natural colour. Despite the name, it would be rare for a dentist to aim to create pure white teeth; instead they would aim to lighten the original shade of the teeth. Using the materials only legally available for use by a dental professional, whitening doesn’t remove or impact upon any of the tooth’s natural surface, meaning it won’t cause damage to your teeth.

So why might I need to get my teeth whitened? Well, Simon’s over 25s might well be the category that needs to consider this the most, as it’s natural for our teeth to darken as we get older. Ageing is a key part of this darkening, but the effects can be accentuated by several factors: food and drinks that we consume (the usual suspects: tea, coffee and red wine), use of antibiotics and smoking. Individual differences can also affect the rate at which our teeth darken. Just as one person’s hair is blond and another’s is brown, a person’s teeth can darken at a different rate to their friend or colleague of the same age.

Ock Street offers a range of options for teeth whitening, all of which would be considered with you in consultation with one of the dentists. Options include home whitening, power bleaching (chair-side whitening) and internal bleaching.

Home whitening is Ock Street’s recommendation for most clients and the most common method chosen: bespoke trays are made for each patient to ensure an excellent fit (think back to your school days and gum shields for hockey, just slimmer!). A special whitening gel is placed into the trays, then inserted over the teeth, and worn for periods specified by the dentist. Patients are provided with everything they need for a two to four week schedule after which a follow up consultation will take place.

Power bleaching, otherwise known as ‘chair-side bleaching’, is a more rapid option and involves a stronger whitening agent being applied to your teeth, again in gum-shield like trays. However since legislative changes a few years ago the strength of material legally available for power bleaching has been reduced and although the results are instant, after 1 hour in  surgery, a top up with home bleaching is usually needed.

Internal bleaching is a way of bleaching individual teeth that have become damaged and are therefore noticeably greyer than neighbouring teeth. Specialist materials and procedures are used to whiten the tooth from the inside out.  Internal bleaching is often combined with home whitening for the rest of the teeth.

So with the grand finale of the X Factor looming, the acts and their mentors will be doing their upmost to prepare themselves, both vocally and in their appearance. Simon et al will be dazzling us with their pearly grins. Why not chat to your dentist today, and look to 2015 for a brighter smile?

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