Teeth whitening procedures can undoubtedly help to restore one’s self-confidence in one’s smile. Although teeth discolourations are a normal part of life, dental whitening is a common procedure to improve the colour and shine of one’s teeth. To help you understand what this treatment entails, we will be taking an in-depth look at the various methods of teeth whitening in Singapore and how they work.
- The types of teeth stains
- How teeth whitening works
- Different methods of teeth whitening in Singapore
- The benefits of teeth whitening
- Frequently asked questions
- Can I whiten my teeth if I have dental implants?
- How about if I have Invisalign or braces?
- Any aftercare tips following a teeth whitening treatment?
- How long will the effects last?
- Is it safe and are there any side effects?
- Can I use my retainers as teeth whitening trays?
- How much does it cost to have teeth whitening in Singapore?
The types of teeth stains
First of all, let’s talk about the different types of teeth stains that one can have. Aside from consuming teeth-staining beverages like coffee or tea, the natural process of ageing can also cause discolouration of the teeth over time.
Like its name suggests, extrinsic stains refer to stains that appear externally on the surface of the teeth. These stains tend to reside and build up in the thin coating of protein that covers the enamel of your teeth. Normally, extrinsic stains can develop when there is a continuous consumption of stain-causing beverages such as coffee, tea, soda and even red wine. Tobacco can also cause extrinsic stains to form on the teeth. Although these stains can look quite severe in some cases, you can easily remove them and keep them in check with routine dental cleaning and whitening toothpastes.
On the other hand, intrinsic stains are stains that form below the surface of your teeth. Normally, this type of staining occurs when stain particles penetrate the surface of your teeth and accumulate within the enamel. They can sometimes be the result of excessive fluoride consumption during childhood, tooth decay or bleeding from blunt force trauma. Unlike extrinsic stains, these stains are more difficult to remove and will require the use of professional bleaching chemicals and teeth whitening treatments.
As we get on in years, our teeth can accumulate both extrinsic and intrinsic stains over time. Teeth discolouration is a normal part of the ageing process as the dentin in our teeth tends to turn yellow as we age. Moreover, the enamel of our teeth also starts to wear down thus exposing more of the yellowing dentin underneath.
How teeth whitening works
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Our teeth consist of an outer enamel layer and an inner layer of dentin. Since the enamel layer of our teeth is quite porous, this allows stains to penetrate the teeth and result in discolouration over time. Whether you are using a teeth bleaching kit at home or getting a professional teeth whitening procedure, both instances incorporate whitening solutions that penetrate the enamel layer of the teeth. Normally, teeth whitening solutions contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. After allowing these solutions to penetrate the teeth, we will use an activator (a light or heat source) to oxidize the discolouration molecules, thereby effectively whitening the teeth.
Different methods of teeth whitening in Singapore
Different types of stains call for different teeth whitening treatments. Before proceeding with whitening your teeth, it is advisable to consult your dentist to formulate your treatment plan. Identifying the root cause of the discolouration can also be helpful in charting out a more effective course of treatment.
In-office teeth whitening
Also known as chairside teeth whitening, this is a professional teeth whitening procedure that you can only get from board certified dentists. Unlike at-home whitening kits, in-office teeth whitening is much more effective and provides quicker and more long-lasting results. This is because of the higher dosage of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide that is present in the whitening solutions. Also unlike at-home kits that take time, professional teeth whitening only requires one session to yield the desired results.
Take-home teeth whitening kit
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Based on a dentist’s discretion, a patient can be given a take-home teeth whitening kit that contains a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide than regular over-the-counter whitening kits. The kit also includes custom-made bleaching trays that fit your teeth perfectly as well as whitening gels that you can use at home. Moreover, your dentist will also advise on the amount of hydrogen peroxide solution to add to your bleaching trays. Unlike professional teeth whitening treatments that only require one session, this one requires a patient to wear the trays for 30 minutes to an hour each day for 14 days to yield the results that they want.
Over-the-counter whitening kits
Lastly, there is the option of over-the-counter teeth whitening kits or strips. However, these at-home kits only contain a low concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Hence, they are definitely not as effective as in-office or take-home teeth whitening treatments. While over-the-counter whitening kits can help to eliminate extrinsic stains, they are no match for intrinsic stains. That being said, it is advisable to obtain the expert advice of your dentist before using any at-home teeth whitening kits.
The benefits of teeth whitening
Besides visibly improving the appearance of one’s smile, a professional teeth whitening procedure can also help to boost one’s confidence and self-esteem. Having a cleaner and brighter smile can help an individual be more self-assured in the way they carry themselves and make a good first impression at important events, meetings and job interviews.
Frequently asked questions
Can I whiten my teeth if I have dental implants?
Since teeth whitening treatments only work on natural teeth, they do not bring about any changes to prosthetic teeth. However, patients can request for their dentist to whiten their natural teeth to match the colour of their dental implants.
How about if I have Invisalign or braces?
If you are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment like Invisalign or conventional braces, you will only be able to whiten your teeth after the treatment is complete.
Any aftercare tips following a teeth whitening treatment?
We recommend that you maintain good oral hygiene by rinsing your mouth after each meal or beverage to prevent discolouring particles from accumulating on the surface of the teeth. Steering clear of tobacco and stain-causing food and beverages can also help to maintain the whiteness of your teeth after treatment.
How long will the effects last?
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The results of an in-office teeth whitening treatment can last anywhere between 12 to 18 months depending on how well you manage your oral hygiene after treatment.
Is it safe and are there any side effects?
In general, teeth whitening treatments are safe if carried out by a professional dentist in a proper clinical setting.
Can I use my retainers as teeth whitening trays?
No, retainers are meant to hold your teeth in place and do not have sufficient space to hold whitening solutions.
How much does it cost to have teeth whitening in Singapore?
The cost of teeth whitening in Singapore varies depending on the type of treatment you are opting for:
|Teeth Whitening Method||Price Range|
|In-Office Teeth Whitening||$1,000 – $1,300|
|Take-Home Teeth Whitening||$300 – $650|
|Over-The-Counter Whitening Kits||$30 – $60|
At Dental Essence, we encourage teeth whitening treatments at our clinic, as many at home treatments cannot be controlled. For more information about our teeth whitening services or to book an appointment, click here.