Our teeth can become discoloured as a result of ageing, while others may have had their teeth discoloured due to staining from certain food and drinks, bacteria, antibiotics and/or smoking. Stained teeth can make a person look older, while a clean, bright smile gives the appearance of youthfulness.
Teeth whitening is one of the most popular forms of cosmetic dentistry practiced today, whereby tooth discolouration is 'whitened' to a lighter shade through chemical means.
There are 3 methods of teeth whitening available. It is recommended to have a consultation with our dentist to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy and suitable for the type of whitening treatment prescribed.
1. Home Whitening Kit
Home whitening kits are most suitable for individuals who want to whiten their teeth gradually and in the comfort and privacy of their own home.
How it works:
A mould of your teeth will be taken and a customized set of trays will be fabricated specially to fit your teeth. Having a customized tray makes the whitening process both more comfortable and more effective, by ensuring that the gel is evenly and sufficiently distributed. It also ensures that the procedure is safer by reducing gel leakage.
Whitening gel of 10 - 20 % carbamide peroxide (a tooth-whitening bleach) will be prescribed, with the concentration level depending on the condition of your teeth as well as your usual daily habits. The gel works by having the active ingredient—carbamide peroxide—diffuse into the tooth structure to break down the stained particles present, resulting in a brighter, lighter-looking tooth surface.
The duration of use can range from 30 minutes, up to 8 hours each day for about 2 weeks. Home whitening can be used both for long term whitening as well as touch-ups after in-office whitening.
2. In-office whitening
In office whitening works exactly the same way as home whitening kit. However, similar results can be attained much faster due to the higher concentration of whitening ingredient. During the initial consultation, the starting shade of the teeth would be taken and the dentist would explain using a shade guide, the improvement in colour that is achievable. However, results do vary according to the individual, but our dentists will tailor the treatment and concentration levels to help you achieve the best results for your case.
How it works:
A barrier is placed on the gums to protect them and a high concentrate whitening gel is carefully applied on each tooth. A special light is then used to enhance the effects of the whitening gel. The gel is left on the teeth for 30 - 60 mins and may be reapplied during this period. In total, 2 visits are usually required
Things to note:
Both the Home Whitening Kit and the In-office Whitening only work on natural teeth and will not be effective on veneers, crowns or fillings. During or after the whitening, there may be some temporary sensitivity. Coloured food and drinks such as red wine, coffee and curry should be avoided for the next 2-3 days. For tooth discolouration caused by medication or injury to the mouth or teeth, the peroxide-based tooth whitening treatment will not be effective.
3. Laser Whitening
Laser whitening is similar to In-office whitening, with the addition of a laser light that is used to shine on each individual tooth to precisely delivery laser energy.
How it works:
The laser energy activates the whitening gel and speeds up the whitening process. There is no destruction of the tooth structure, as the laser energy is only absorbed by the whitening gel, not the tooth.
Why Laser Whitening?
A faster and more efficient method of tooth-whitening, Laser Whitening is usually done in one visit, with the treatment usually completed within the hour. There also tends to be less sensitivity in the teeth post-treatment due to the reduced contact time of the gel with the teeth.