With all the makeover shows on television, new anti-aging products and general obsession with staying younger, it’s no surprise that people are willing to invest a lot of time, energy and money on products and procedures to look and feel younger. One quick, easy and inexpensive way to take years of your appearance is to whiten your teeth. A natural, white smile goes a long way to keeping you looking fresh and youthful.
As we age, our teeth naturally lose their whiteness. The bony tissue that underlies the tooth enamel gets darker and the light can’t pass through our teeth the way it once could resulting in ‘yellow looking’ teeth.
Teeth can also become discoloured simply from what we eat and drink. Tea, coffee, red wine and cigarettes are the worst offenders. They change the colour of our teeth because the outer most layer of the tooth contains pores that can retain these stains.
While whitening toothpastes are popular, these do not alter the intrinsic colour of your teeth nor can they remove stains that are deeper than the tooth’s surface. These toothpastes, instead, enhance the effectiveness of stain removal.
The overall whitening result always depends on the initial colour and condition of your teeth. If you have crowns or tooth-coloured fillings whitening your teeth will not whiten these restorations. If you have only one or a few teeth that are particularly stained, it may be sensible to consider porcelain or resin veneers instead of whitening, as a better long-term solution.
Consult with your dentist to see which options he or she would recommend.
Whitening – you can choose between take home kits where the dentist fits you with custom made bleaching trays and gel, or in-office accelerated bleaching which is performed by the dentist.
Tooth bonding – an enamel-like material is applied to the tooth’s surface. This technique can also be used to repair chipped or damaged teeth.
Porcelain Veneers – thin porcelain shells are glued onto the surface of your front teeth and are ideal for hiding badly stained or discoloured teeth.
Tooth coloured fillings – a good start is replacing those unsightly silver fillings. A range of white filling materials are now available.
Crowns – are recommended when the actual tooth structure is damaged and needs extra strength and support.
If you’re looking for a simple and quick makeover, then whitening could just be the option for you. Even the most subtle change in your smile can make a dramatic difference in the way you look. Whitening is a non-invasive and effective way to help you smile with confidence.
Dr Christina Liew
Dr Christina Liew is an Aussie who relocated to Singapore twenty years ago and has been a member of the Smilefocus team since 2003. Dr Liew is a general dentist with a particular interest in cosmetic work and minor oral surgery, such as wisdom teeth extraction.