Table of Contents
Written by NoFrills Dental
This dental article has been curated by the clinical team @ NoFrills Dental 🙂
February 19, 2021
Getting Teeth Whitening in Singapore
Who doesn’t want a bright, white smile? More than just a social media beauty trend, it is a sign of good health, making us look smart, clean and professional.
As so many people are in pursuit of whiter smiles, the market has caught up, and there are now many options available. Unfortunately, some dangerous products have become available in Singapore too.
We want to give you the full picture; the good, the bad, and the dangerous aspects of teeth whitening. But don’t worry; we are not here to discourage your efforts for whiter teeth. This is just to inform you of the best ways to go about it, with a range of pricing options for everybody.
Here’s a quick guide to your teeth whitening in Singapore, we’ll cover the options available to patients and the costs involved with each treatment option before you get started.
How teeth whitening treatment works
While there are options for every budget on the market, some cheaper ones are neither effective, nor safe to use. If you choose something with a prohibited high percentage of the active ingredient, you may end up with costly damage to your teeth and gums. So the idea of saving money on a teeth whitening treatment can end up being a false economy.
In a budget treatment that you buy from online retailers or in a store, there are two common ingredients you might see – hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. These can be damaging with prolonged use, or if using a higher percentage of peroxide than the permitted amount.
The allowed percentage of hydrogen peroxide for use at home and without a prescription is only 0.1%. However, most of the products you will find from online retailers and a few stores in Singapore, contain an average of 3%. Some of these products present a real risk to your oral health, yet they are being reviewed and shared on social media by influencers.
How peroxide treatments work?
Tooth bleaching agents available
Before we go any further, let’s talk about peroxide. It’s important to know how it works, and when it might be problematic for you.
As you now know, both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide can be found in teeth whitening products from retailers. They act as a bleaching agent, breaking down the molecules of the stains by partially permeating the layers of the teeth.
Some hydrogen peroxide products have a concentration even higher than 3%, which is feared may lead to an increase of dental problems further down the track.
If you’ve ever tried one of these products and felt sensitivity in your teeth afterwards, this may be due to your enamel being broken down.
Hydrogen peroxide vs. carbamide peroxide
If you are wondering how to choose between hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide – there is little difference in the end result.
While hydrogen peroxide works well on its own, carbamide peroxide has hydrogen peroxide in it.The main difference is in the whitening process itself.
Hydrogen peroxide works faster, whitening within half an hour to an hour. Carbamide peroxide treatments take longer to work, but end up with just as much whitening as a result.
Hydrogen peroxide is also used in treatments from your dentist, in concentrations as high as 40%. This is why professional treatments are so much more effective. This higher percentage is safe when directed by your dentist for two reasons.
Firstly your dentist will have performed an oral exam to ensure your teeth will cope with the treatment. And secondly, these treatments are either performed by your dentist, or else you are given a prescribed take-home kit with specific instructions.
Home use whitening products
At the cheaper end of the scale, you can buy Crest 3D Whitestrips for as little as $12.90. These can be ordered online, or found in many stores around Singapore. However, drugstores do not stock them. These contain hydrogen peroxide and are simply strips that you press onto your teeth, leaving them in place for 30 minutes.
Crest says you need a minimum of 3 daily applications in a row, and the whiteness becomes visible after 3 weeks. This might help with the lightest of staining, but as reflected in the price, don’t expect too much.
Also, don’t use them for longer than recommended on the packaging, as studies have shown that prolonged use of peroxide-based products damages enamel. In the long run, damaged enamel can lead to more tooth discolouration, sensitivity and even pain.
There are several at-home treatments on the market, from strips to gel with an LED light to activate it. BlanX do a version of the latter for $33.90, available from Watson’s. This option is peroxide-free, making it kinder for sensitive teeth.
One of the trendiest products currently is The Beautiful – Cold Light Teeth Whitening Kit, which contains a concerning 4% hydrogen peroxide. HSA is currently working on having this product taken down by online sellers, due to the risks it poses to consumers’ health.
You will find a wide choice of at home products, priced between $13 and $60. Just be aware that some may be potentially harmful, especially if left on too long or repeated too often. And some may do very little for your stains at all.
The smile-damaging risks of prohibited products
Potential risks involved with teeth whitening
If you have any unseen cracks in your teeth, then applying peroxide at home could cause it to penetrate down to the dentin of your teeth. This is likely to cause pain, or at least heightened sensitivity.
While sensitivity is by far the most common side effect, there are other unpleasant outcomes that you could experience.
- Burns to your gums, leading to later tooth weakness and decay
- Burns or blistering to the lips, if the peroxide treatment leaks from the tray around your teeth
Vomiting and other gastrointestinal distress, due to accidental swallowing of the bleaching agent
Looking to learn more about Teeth Whitening in Singapore?
Download a copy of the Teeth Whitening Guidebook 2022.
Who is teeth whitening not suitable for?
Teeth whitening isn’t actually suitable for everybody
This is important information you miss if you buy a prohibited product straight from a retailer. You could get no benefit from the product and waste your money. Or worse, you could do permanent damage to your teeth.
Teeth whitening is most suitable for people with extrinsic tooth stains. These discolourations come from drinking coffee, red wine, and other dark things that stain your enamel. Smoking is also a common cause of extrinsic staining.
Often a routine scale and polish from your dentist will lift some of this discolouration. But if you wish to boost your whiteness for a really glowing smile, then whitening can help you further.
However, you may not be suitable for teeth whitening if you have:
- Deeply intrinsic stains deep with the teeth (usually gray or purple toned)
- Cracks or other trauma to your teeth which leaves dentin exposed
- Tooth decay or severe gingivitis
- On-going orthodontic treatment (but whitening may be appropriate after orthodontic treatment is complete)
Professional teeth whitening in Singapore
As mentioned above, dentists also use peroxide for teeth whitening.
The difference is that your dentist is licensed to do this. The licensing actually allows for a higher percentage of peroxide to be used, up to a maximum of 40%, giving you a much brighter, whiter result.
In the consultation before your whitening procedure, your dentist will perform an oral exam to make sure you are a suitable candidate. Your dentist wants to be sure that using peroxide on your teeth now won’t cause you pain or problems further down the track.
This is a very responsible way to approach whitening your teeth, will give you the best results, but is also the most expensive.
Prices in Singapore for chairside (in-office) teeth whitening range between $800 and $1300. This often only requires a single session.
For a take-home whitening prescription kit from your dentist, prices range between $400 and $600. This typically requires you to repeat the process for between 30 and 60 minutes per day, every day for 2 weeks.
While some patients aren’t keen on maintaining their treatment every day for two weeks, the results really speak for themselves. Dentist prescribed at-home treatments are the strongest and safest for at-home use. If you want a really noticeable improvement in whiteness, then it may be worth putting in the effort for.
You can see what we offer at NoFrills Dental here.
How long do teeth whitening last?
Results vary anywhere from 6 months – 2 years
The results from tooth whitening are not permanent and will diminish with time. Patients will need to undergo teeth whitening treatment once every 12 months to maintain results.
Results of teeth whitening can last any where from 6 months to 2 years. It varies greatly from person to person depending on how well they are able to main the results by refraining from activities which may cause teeth to stain such as, smoking or eating/drinking staining foods or beverages.
Brushing your teeth twice a day and avoiding these staining foods, (avoiding, not cutting out entirely!) will help keep your teeth whitening noticeable for as long as possible. However, keep in mind that staining is inevitable.
Are there any alternatives to teeth whitening?
If you find that you are not a good candidate for teeth whitening, then in some cases dental veneers can be a good option.
Veneers are often a good solution for intrinsic staining, or age-related discolouration.
Alternatively, if your stains are extrinsic then starting with a scale and polish at your next dentist visit can make a difference to the appearance of your teeth. A good daily oral hygiene practice, and giving up smoking and red wine can help you too.
If you aren’t a suitable candidate for whitening, but don’t have intrinsic stains, then a simple scale and polish coupled with good at-home oral hygiene might be your best choice.
- 20/20 Dentistry. Teeth Whitening: Hydrogen peroxide vs. carbamide peroxide.
- Cvikl, A. Lussi, A. Moritz, S. Flury (2016). Enamel Surface Changes After Exposure to Bleaching Gels Containing Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide. Operative Dentistry, Volume 41, Issue 1.
- Eugenia Liew. Teeth Whitening Singapore Price Guide – Home Kits vs Salons vs Dentists. Money Smart.
- Green Facts. Tooth Whiteners & Oral Hygiene Products containing hydrogen peroxide.
- Hydrogen peroxide for teeth whitening: What to know. Medical News Today
- Jalelah Abu Baker. HAS, dentist warns against popular DIY teeth whitening kit. CAN Insider.
- The Dental Law Partnership. The Risks of Using Teeth Whitening Products.
So, What’s Next?
Now that you know all the options, you can make an informed decision about which path to pursue. If your stains are very light, then you may wish to think about a simple scale and polish from your dentist to start your whitening journey.
If your stains are stubborn or bothering you, then there are plenty of options to choose from. As dentists, we of course prefer that you see us first for a consultation. That way we can inform you of the health of your teeth and your suitability for whitening.
If you would like to explore chairside whitening with one of our dentists, or a take-home prescription kit with us, then get in touch.
Please feel free to call and talk through the options with us, or fill in the contact form on this page. We are always happy to advise you, and you should feel comfortable making your decision.
The best dentist for you is one who will provide you with all the information, and help you to reach a well-informed decision that you are comfortable with. Good communication between you and your dentist is vital for a successful outcome.
In addition, please only proceed with the treatment if you are fully comfortable with the treatment plan proposed by your provider.
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