Frequently asked questions about aesthetic dentistry

What is whitening?

Bleaching or whitening is a reliable and gentle method to lighten the natural tooth colour without damaging the tooth surface. This cosmetic method, in which active oxygen decolorises the dark color pigments in the tooth, can be used for whole rows of teeth or even individual teeth. Persistent discolourations that cannot be removed by professional teeth cleaning are gently but effectively eliminated.

In our dental laboratory we create plaster models from dental impressions. Alternatively, we can also start from digital scans of the teeth. From these models the dental technician can individually shape the veneers. To do this the ceramic shell is molded in wax and then pressed (pressed veneer) or individually layered in ceramic (multi-layered ceramic shell). The dental technician then fires and paints them, and the ceramic shells are ready for the test fitting.

At the test fitting we place the veneer in the patients mouth and check the fit, form and colour of the veneer. If all is in order and the patient is satisfied we attach the ceramic shell to the tooth with a special bonding cement. You can eat with the veneers straight away.

The cost of veneers depends on several factors. The more veneers are required, the lower the cost for the dental laboratory. So, for example, if all front teeth are to be fitted with veneers, the individual price per veneer is lower than that of a single veneer. In addition, pressed veneers are somewhat cheaper than individually layered ones.

On average the ceramics have a durability of about 20 to 25 years. The recent developments in high performance ceramics mean that now even thin ceramic shells have a long lifespan.

There is one big advantage: in order to apply a veneer, much less of the tooth substance must be ground off than for a ceramic crown, so healthy tooth substance can be saved. However if there is no longer sufficient available tooth substance, as can be the case for heavily filled or broken teeth, a crown or partial crown may be more appropriate. We will always decide which option is most suitable in consultation with you.

The colour of the ceramic does not change — bleaching, which is necessary for natural teeth, is not needed. Strongly coloured foodstuffs such as coffee can, however, also lead to discolouration of the veneers. This can be quickly and easily removed as part of a professional tooth cleaning with us. In addition, the veneer will be polished, so that we can ensure that the veneer has a permanently stable colour.

Since the teeth must be prepared when using conventional veneers, the veneers generally remain in the patient’s mouth for a lifetime. On the other hand, non-prep veneers can be removed again if required since the tooth does not have to be ground, and thus the healthy tooth substance is retained. In addition, a short appointment in our practice will be enough to make an impression of the teeth before the veneers can be glued on.

Bleaching is a very successful and gentle method to lighten the natural colour of the teeth without damaging the tooth surface. This cosmetic procedure, in which oxygen changes the dark coloured pigments of the tooth, can be applied to entire rows of teeth and individual teeth alike. Stubborn stains which cannot be removed during professional cleaning are removed gently but effectively.

Professional bleaching in a dental practice will not damage the teeth. Through the chemical procedure, the tooth enamel becomes slightly more susceptible to acids such as fruit juices. However, this effect can be mitigated by a subsequent local fluoridation. After the teeth whitening, the treated teeth may temporarily become more sensitive to temperature.

There are three ways to bleach the teeth. You can do home bleaching yourself in your own home. For this you will receive precisely fitting splints for the upper and lower jaw, as well as detailed instructions. You fill the splints with the bleaching compound and wear them for one to four hours per day. For in-office bleaching this splint treatment takes place in our clinic.

For chairside bleaching, or bleaching in the dentist's chair, your teeth will be whitened within two hours. The bleaching gel is immediately activated by UV light.

If your teeth darkened after a root canal treatment we can treat this with a walking bleach. In this case we gently whiten your teeth over the course of several weeks. To achieve this we fill the root canal with hydrogen peroxide for three to five days, and the tooth’s original colour is restored.

It depends heavily on your habits and oral hygiene. The usual timespan ranges from one to three years. For example, higher consumption of coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine and cola reduces how long the whitening will last. To refresh the effect, the treatment can be repeated or performed at home with a home bleaching kit.

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