The solution for stained and yellow teeth
What is Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic procedure that is conducted in dental clinics all over the world. Dental whitening is typically utilised when patients want to improve the colour of their teeth and brighten their overall smile. When the tooth loses its natural shine, becomes discoloured, or stained, teeth whitening can provide excellent cosmetic results.
Tooth discolouration can be caused by various factors such as smoking or consumption of certain food and beverages such as coffee and tea. After the teeth whitening procedure, your teeth will regain its shine and colour, giving you a bright and radiant smile that you’ve always wanted.
How Teeth Whitening Works
Teeth are made up of an inner dentin layer and a hard outer enamel layer, which protects the teeth. The enamel layer of the tooth is porous which means stains can get into the tooth and cause discolouration.
Chairside teeth whitening and take home teeth whitening kit from dental clinics use whitening solutions to penetrate the enamel layer of each tooth, once the solution has fully penetrated the tooth, an activator (typically a source of heat or light) is used to set off an oxidation reaction that reacts with the discoloured molecules in the teeth and as a result, whitens teeth.
Most tooth whiteners use one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide
Different Type of Tooth Stains
There are different types of tooth stains that could potentially be removed through the use of teeth whitening techniques. However, not all stains can be removed through the use of teeth whitening. Understanding the type of stains that you have will determine the right treatment to address your condition, and help you achieve a brand new, brighter smile.
Teeth are naturally porous. Each tooth is made of hollow tube-like structures referred to as dentin tubules. When the enamel layer of teeth picks up stains through the tubules, the teeth lose the natural shine and colour. It may be caused due to acidic food or beverages like red wine, carbonated drinks, tea, or coffee. In some cases, oral health problems also lead to tooth discolouration and effective teeth whitening procedures can remove the stains from teeth.
Extrinsic Tooth Stains
Typically when it comes to external tooth stains, it’s most likely that these stains are only affecting the outer enamel layer of the tooth or the surface of the tooth. These types of stains are typically the result of tobacco use or frequent consumption of dark coloured food and drinks such as coffee, red wine, or tea.
This form of tooth discolouration can be easily managed and removed through scaling and polishing regular tooth brushing using teeth whitening toothpastes. Both take home whitening kits and chairside teeth whitening treatment will prove to be effective solutions when it comes to brightening up teeth suffering from extrinsic tooth stains.
Intrinsic Tooth Stains
Intrinsic tooth stains are located deep within the tooth, as such, these types of stains are inherently a lot more difficult to remove as these stains are highly resistant to teeth whitening treatment. Typically, stains within the enamel layer of the tooth can still be removed via tooth whitening treatment.
However, stains that affect the dentin or pulp of the tooth are usually not treatable using regular chairside whitening or take home whitening kits. Intrinsic stains are usually purplish or grayish in colour.
Common causes of intrinsic tooth stains include:
- Tetracycline stains
- Certain medications
- Root canal treatments
- Trauma or damage to a tooth
- Tooth decay
- Excess fluoride consumption
In cases where teeth whitening is unable to remove the tooth stains. Your dentist may recommend alternative cosmetic solutions such as dental veneers to conceal the stains instead.
Age-related Tooth Stains
The enamel layer of teeth will naturally thin with age due to daily use. This will often result in teeth starting to discolour into a shade of yellow. Generally, age related tooth discolouration is the result of both extrinsic and intrinsic factors.
Depending on the type of tooth stain, patients suffering from age-related tooth stains can benefit from teeth whitening solutions.
Types of Teeth Whitening
Depending on the type of stains that you have, your dentist will recommend the ideal treatment option for you. Before starting any type of teeth whitening, your dentist will first identify the cause of the teeth discolouration before discussing the products and treatment to be used to address the discolouration.
Chairside Teeth Whitening
Chairside teeth whitening refers to a form of teeth whitening that dental professionals offer across dental offices and clinics.
In-office teeth whitening solutions are quick and highly effective in providing patients longer lasting results due to the higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide used, compared to the other types of teeth whitening.
On top of this, patients will typically only require a single session to achieve a brighter smile. Chairside teeth whitening can only be carried out by a trained and professional dentist.
In-clinic chairside teeth whitening is usually recommended for patients looking for a convenient, fast and effective whitening treatment that almost always guarantees results.
Chairside teeth whitening is also the most expensive, when compared to other alternative methods, with prices typically ranging between $1,000 – $1,300 per session.
Take Home Teeth Whitening Kits
Take-home whitening kits from dental clinics contain higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide as teeth whitening products above 0.1% hydrogen peroxide limit can only be supplied to registered dentists and used under their supervision.
Thus, take-home whitening kits from dental clinics can only be sold at the discretion of the dentist after professional assessment. Hence, as compared to those selling in pharmacies or online, these take-home whitening kits from dental clinics will cost more but justifiably so.
Take home teeth whitening kits utilise custom fitted bleaching trays that fit perfectly onto your teeth and whitening gels to whiten teeth from the comfort of your home. Your dentist will fabricate these bleaching trays for you and issue some hydrogen peroxide whitening solution to add to it before wearing the bleaching trays.
Patients are typically recommended to wear the bleaching trays for 30 minutes to 1 hour a day for 2 weeks in order to achieve desired results. The amount of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide take home whitening gel is significantly lesser than those used in chairside whitening.
The cost of take home whitening kits, typically ranges between $300 – $650.
Over-The-Counter Whitening Products
These products can help with stained teeth but unlike dentist administered products, these whitening products usually have zero or very low amounts of carbamide/hydrogen peroxide in them.
Based on regulations set in place by the Singaporean healthcare authorities, teeth whitening products containing more than 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide are only legally available for use by registered dentists.
This will results in results being significantly less effective than chairside whitening solutions or take home whitening kits. Patients suffering from intrinsically discoloured teeth may find these products to be completely ineffective.
Benefits of Teeth Whitening
The primary benefit of teeth whitening is removal of stains: Acidic beverages, wine, and some foods cause discolouration, erosion of enamel and staining in the teeth. Teeth whitening process lightens the stains and brighten your smile.
As a result, you have the following benefits:
Attractive smile adds to the appeal of a person and an unattractive one negatively impacts the personality.
It indicates that you take care of your appearance and pay attention to hygiene.
Clean and good-looking teeth work as confidence boosters. They help you not only in social presence, but also at work.
Be it a date-night or an interview, a presentation or the first meeting with in-laws, sparkling white teeth make you feel confident.
Brand New Brighter Smile
Smile is amongst the initial things that people notice when they meet you. You need not put filter on your pictures or hide your smile in photos any more due to teeth stains or discoloration.
You can instantly notice the difference in your smile after a chairside teeth whitening process.
Frequently Asked Questions
Commonly asked questions about Teeth Whitening
How do I maintain my white teeth after teeth whitening treatment?
The maintenance of your smile is high dependant on your eating, drinking and oral hygiene habits. After completing your teeth whitening treatment, your smile will be bright and radiant. However, your teeth can still be stained by certain foods and drinks.
Our dentists usually recommend our patients to rinse their mouth after eating or drinking in order to prevent discolouring agents from settling onto the surface of teeth; reducing the risk of discolouration.
Are there any side effects from teeth whitening?
Teeth whitening when done under the supervision and guidance of a dental professional is a safe and harmless procedure with no long lasting side effects. However, some patients may experience these side effects from teeth whitening treatment:
- Increased tooth sensitivity – Some patients may experience a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity immediately after treatment. This increased sensitivity usually goes away within 24 hours. This sensitivity is more prevalent in patients who have undergone chairside teeth whitening, as such dentists will usually provide patients with some sensitivity products containing potassium nitrate after their whitening treatment to address the increase in tooth sensitivity.
- Gum Irritation – Some patients may experience some pain in the gums due to contact with the whitening product. This side effect is typically more prevalent in patients using take home kits and will mostly go away after completing the treatment.
Are the results from teeth whitening permanent?
The results from teeth whitening are NOT permanent. The results from tooth whitening will diminish with time and patients will need to undergo teeth whitening treatments every so often to address both intrinsic and extrinsic stains.
The results from chairside whitening will generally last between 12 – 18 months on average.
I have a dental implant/crown/bridge, can I still get my teeth whitened?
Teeth whitening treatment will only work for natural teeth. Dental prosthetics will not be affected by teeth whitening treatment.
Patients with dental prosthesis will need to discuss the prospect of whitening their teeth with their dentists in order to unify the colour of their natural teeth with the prosthetics.
I'm currently on Invisalign/braces treatment, can I get my teeth whitened?
Can I use my retainers/invisalign clear aligners as bleaching trays?
Invisalign clear aligners and retainers are made to shift/hold teeth, they sit flush to teeth, leaving little to no space for whitening gel.
As such, retainers and Invisalign clear aligners are not suitable substitutes for bleaching trays.
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