What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is dental procedure that lightens the colour of the teeth with the help of chemical to bleach the stain and discolouration. This bleaching substance is applied either on the outer surface of the teeth or internally within a tooth had root-canal treatment done.
This whitening procedure can be done by the dentist at the chair or could be done at home with a self-application method. Both method works and our dentist will recommend the suitable and most cost effective method to whiten your teeth and brighten your smile.
Why Should You Do Teeth Whitening?
Yellow or discoloured teeth has a negative impact on how you look and feel about yourself.
It makes the teeth look “dirty” or “not well maintained” despite that the fact that your oral hygiene and dental health are in excellent condition.
Discoloured teeth does not affect the chewing function at all, it is merely a cosmetic issue.
Thus this make teeth whitening the most common and popular cosmetic dental procedure because it can easily and greatly improve how your teeth look, and more importantly, how you feel about your self-image and confidence.
Types of Teeth Whitening
All types of teeth whitening involve the process of applying a bleaching gel that contain hydrogen peroxide, directly on the surfaces of the teeth either externally or internally. The chemical from the hydrogen peroxide then bleaches the stain and convert it to a colourless substance, thus removing the stain as one would bleach a white cloth.
In-clinic whitening procedure
The teeth whitening procedure is done on the dentist’s chair with a powerful bleaching gel that are applied to the external surfaces of the upper and lower teeth. The gum, lip and tongue are protected to prevent the caustic substance in coming into contact with the soft tissue.
A specialised blue light may be used to speed up the whitening process. This procedure can take from 45-60 minutes.
Take-Home whitening procedure
This is a do-it-yourself teeth whitening procedure that you can apply a lower concentration of bleaching gel on a customised bleaching trays applied to your upper and lower teeth in your waking hours or while you are sleeping.
Our dentist will make a set of moulds of your teeth to make the customised bleaching trays. These trays only fit your mouth and nobody else. A few tubes of the bleaching gel will be given to you to apply on the inside of the trays which will be fitted onto the upper and lower teeth.
You are supposed to wear the trays for at least 1hour and even over-night during your sleep if you are comfortable.
You will be able to see changes by the next day. The amount of “whiteness” will determine how long more you need to wear the trays. Most will get their desired result in 1-2 weeks of home bleaching.
Is Teeth Whitening Painful?
The chemical from the hydrogen peroxide gel will irritate the nerves of the teeth, thus making them sensitive to thermal stimulation from hot/cold food or drinks.
The amount of tooth sensitivity depends on individual tolerance and also more important the concentration of the bleaching gel used.
The higher the concentration, the higher chance and intensity of the tooth sensitivity is expected.
During the process of teeth whitening, it is best to avoid the extremely hot/cold stimulation to the teeth. Slightly warm or room-temperature food and drinks is recommended during this period.
You may skip your bleaching procedure every few days instead of everyday to allow the teeth to get used to it. Using specific toothpaste formulated for tooth sensitivity will also help to reduce this side effects.
Sometimes, painkillers may be prescribed for more intense tooth sensitivity.
Is everyone suitable to do teeth whitening?
If you have sensitive teeth, sensitive or receding gums, gum disease or other dental health problems, you may not be suitable. Sensitivity during tooth whitening can be overcome, and our dentist can advise on this. Active diseases like tooth decay and gum disease are normally treated before tooth whitening is carried out. Since tooth whitening is a cosmetic procedure, we must restore the health of the teeth first before making it look better.
Will teeth whitening damage my teeth?
Teeth whitening does not damage your teeth. The only side effect of teeth whitening is the sensitivity of hot/cold food and drinks, which can easily be reduced and treated.
Will teeth whitening make my teeth pure white? I want a smile like the Hollywood stars.
Teeth whitening will not make your teeth pure white as it will look fake and un-natural. The effectiveness of whitening depends on the types and severity of the discolouration of your teeth. For example, yellow teeth will whiten well, brownish-coloured teeth may not whiten as well and greyish teeth may not whiten at all. Our dentist will discuss with you the expectation of the whitening result during the consultation visit.
Why should I do teeth whitening with a dentist? There are readily available teeth whitening products that I can get from stores or online.
There are many off the shelf or on-line bleaching products available in the market but they are not as effective as the concentration of the bleaching gel is too low for safety reason or the self-made trays does not fit well to the individual’s teeth causing the excess gel to be ingested.
Professional teeth whitening procedures are safe, effective and done under the supervision of a dental professional. In most cases, it is worth the extra cost to visit our dentist for safety and predictable result
Is whitening toothpaste effective?
Whitening toothpastes are effective for removing external surface stain on the teeth from stain causing food/drinks and habits. They cannot change the internal colour of the teeth. If your discolouration of your teeth is more severe and deeper, you may need to consult our dentist for a more suitable whitening solutions for you.
Can I whiten my teeth if I have fillings or crowns on my front teeth?
Yes, however the colour of the restorations will change with teeth whitening. The colour of your fillings or crowns were chosen to blend with the shade of your natural teeth so that they do not stand out. Whitening the teeth will then lighten the natural teeth and these fillings and crowns will appeared more yellow than before bleaching. You may need to change the colour of the fillings or crowns by making new ones to match the whiter shade of your natural teeth. Our dentist will be able to advise you on what other treatment that you may need if you want to whitening your teeth.