Everyone would love to have a white and natural looking smile but we live in a world filled with teeth staining factors such as coffee, carbonated drinks, tea, red wine … So how DO we get a selfie-worthy, beautiful smile?
Well, achieving those pearly-white smiles is easier than most people think and many achieve that dream smile with simple teeth whitening procedures.
Can anyone whiten their teeth?
Yes, anyone can potentially whiten their teeth although it is generally better to wait ‘til you are over the age of 18 as immature adult teeth tend to be more sensitive during the process.
The more stained and discoloured your teeth the greater the visual ‘effect’ after whitening.
Everyone’s tooth enamel is different and will whiten at a different rate and to a different innate degree.
Nonetheless there will always be an improvement in the final shade.
Who would you describe as an ideal candidate for whitening?
Any adult who feels their teeth are becoming stained and discoloured. It is the quickest anti-ageing treatment available!
What happens during the initial consultation?
We complete a thorough examination of your teeth and identify the cause of the discolouration.
Most stains will benefit from a whitening treatment, although not all.
Internal stains which originate from frequent ingestion of a certain class of antibiotics (tetracycline) at a young age will not benefit.
At the initial consultation current tooth shade is assessed and the method of delivery of the whitening product is determined.
There are two methods, both utilising a carbamide peroxide gel, a derivative of hydrogen peroxide.
Both will achieve the same end result, it is simply a matter of how quickly the desired result is achieved and the potential temporary sensitivity one is willing to accept.
What are the different whitening options available?
We offer two options :
- Light-activated teeth whitening has the advantage of being faster. The latest available systems use a plasma arc or xenon-halogen light source to activate the whitening agent applied to the teeth. At Smilefocus we use the ZOOM technology. This method takes two hours or less and has been clinically proven to lighten teeth up to 8 shades whiter in one visit.
- At-home teeth whitening has the advantage of flexibility. A whitening gel is applied to a customised mouth-guard which is then worn regularly for a few hours or overnight, every night, or every second night, until the desired result is achieved. You will see an improved color in just a few days. You can choose the strength of the solution (10%, 15%, 20%, 35%) with which you are comfortable, moderating sensitivity.
What would you say is the most effective whitening solution?
The home whitening kit, although a slower method of whitening the teeth, tends to produce more predictable results.
The key is the amount of time the peroxide gel has in contact with the teeth.
It’s important to note that after any whitening procedure the color will fade back somewhat, depending on the frequency of tooth staining foods/drinks taken regularly in the diet.
One of the benefits of the home whitening kit is that it is more convenient to touch up the color when needed.
Does the procedure hurt?
No. There may be temporary sensitivity to the light activated treatment or even the at-home treatments, but generally these treatments are seen as having minimal discomfort.
Are follow-up treatments necessary? (and how long does it last?)
While follow-up visits are not needed, we like to see you after whitening for a quick visit, just to check the results after around two weeks, to assess the shade improvement.
Are there any side effects?
Mild sensitivity during treatment but nothing more.
You should avoid staining foods and drinks for the first 24 hours after treatment. Everyone’s teeth have a protective layer called the ‘acquired pellicle’.
This layer contains surface stains and is removed during the whitening procedure. It takes about 24 hours for this barrier to fully develop again.
During this period try to avoid dark foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, dark soft drinks, red wine and dark sauces, in order to minimize re-staining.
Anything that will stain a white t-shirt will stain your teeth.
You should also avoid using tobacco products while whitening.
Dr Bernard Siew, is Clinic Director at Smilefocus is an Australian trained dentist. He has practiced in Singapore for over 17 years.
Please call 6834 0877 to make an appointment.