Teeth whitening has become increasingly popular as it helps remove discolourations, resulting in a brighter smile. This procedure has numerous options, but it is essential to be cautious, especially with cheaper online products. They often contain hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, which can be hazardous in excessive amounts.
It is worth noting that the allowed percentage of hydrogen peroxide in over-the-counter teeth whitening products is 0.1%. However, many readily available products contain a much higher percentage of around 3%, which is not permitted and could pose risks to oral health.
Tooth/teeth discolouration happens when the natural colour of your teeth alters, causing them to lose their brightness and white appearance. Discoloured teeth may appear darker or develop spots that do not look as aesthetically pleasing as they should.
Teeth discolouration can be grouped into the following categories:
|Type||When it occurs||Causes|
|Extrinsic stain (staining on the surface of the teeth)||Occurs when stain particles accumulate in the layer of protein covering your teeth’s enamel.||- Tobacco use.|
- Frequent consumption of coffee, tea, wine and/or certain soft drinks.
|Intrinsic stains (staining below the surface of the teeth)||Occurs when stain particles accumulate within your teeth’s enamel, staining the inner layer.||- Fluorosis due to excessive consumption of fluoride during early childhood.|
- Internal bleeding from tooth trauma.
|Age-related stains (intrinsic and/extrinsic tooth stains)||Occurs with age; the dentin (core tissue) in your teeth yellows over time).||- Enamel starts to thin, exposing yellowish dentin as we age.|
- Enamel becomes more porous, trapping stains more easily.
Regular dental cleanings and whitening toothpaste can easily remove extrinsic stains. However, if you have intrinsic stains, it may be necessary to seek the help of a professional, such as getting a bleaching treatment, to address them effectively.
It is crucial to exercise caution and opt for dental treatments that adhere to safety guidelines and regulations to achieve a beautiful smile without compromising your well-being.
Your dentist will first conduct an oral examination to determine if you are a suitable candidate for teeth whitening. This is to ensure that whitening agents will not affect your teeth adversely. Your dentist can provide personalised advice on the most suitable type of whitening and inform you of potential concerns. Seeking professional guidance will help you make informed decisions about your teeth whitening options and ensure a safe and effective treatment.
Generally, in-office teeth whitening procedures are well tolerated, but the experience might differ if you choose over-the-counter home whitening kits. Using these kits without supervision could lead to severe sensitivity, especially if your teeth have unnoticed cracks.
The hydrogen peroxide in these kits can reach the deeper layer of your teeth (dentin), which may cause pain. Be cautious when using such products, and consider professional advice if you have concerns about your dental health.
You may not be a suitable candidate for teeth whitening if you have:
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Teeth whitening can be used to treat the following:
If you have any of the conditions above, make an appointment for an accurate diagnosis and treatment.
|Scaling and polishing||Helps to prevent and reduce the appearance and build-up of surface stains on your teeth.Improves overall oral health and reduces the risk of gum disease, gingivitis, and tooth decay.||Does not whiten the overall shade of your teeth.|
|Home teeth whitening kit||Gradual and slow results.Teeth whitening kits are easily accessible online and in stores.Teeth whitening kits are more cost-effective.||Takes longer to achieve desired results.Can be inconvenient to prepare without the help of a professional.Can contain dangerous levels of hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.|
|In-office teeth whitening||Fast results.Visible and more noticeable after one session.Hassle-free, safe, and more effective procedures and tools.Quick results make this a great option for those with busier schedules.||Clients pay for every visit.Procedure takes a longer time.You may experience tooth/teeth sensitivity after each session.|
Teeth whitening results are not permanent and typically last from 6 months to 2 years. To maintain optimal results, you will need regular teeth whitening treatments. The frequency of treatment depends on your habits, such as smoking, brushing practices, oral health conditions, and consumption of staining foods or beverages.
After an in-office teeth whitening session, avoid coffee, red wine, tea, and other teeth-staining foods for the first two weeks. To maintain the whitening effects, stick to a good dental routine with daily brushing and flossing, use a straw for staining foods and drinks, rinse your mouth with water after consumption, and consider using whitening toothpaste or dentist-prescribed take-home kits for better long-term protection. It is also advisable to minimise intake of teeth-staining foods in the long run.
|Type of procedure||Price||Treatment regularity|
|In-office teeth whitening||In-office teeth whitening services range between $800 and $1300.||The upside to in-office treatment is that usually, only a single session is required.|
|Dentist-prescribed home teeth whitening kit||Prices range between $400 and $600 and do not include the potential cost of additional gel refills and bleaching trays.||You must also regularly repeat the process for 1-2 weeks.|
|Scaling & polishing||Scaling & polishing services usually cost between $120 to $180.||Scaling & polishing is recommended at least twice yearly.|