WHITENING: Brighten Your Smile

Fancy White, Immaculate Teeth?

The mouth is one of the most prominent features of the face. Therefore, our smile is critical to our self-perception and the impression we leave on the people we meet. Confidence and positivity are often associated with a charming smile, and pearly white teeth contribute greatly to that.

However, certain habits, chemicals and physiological conditions can cause teeth to discolour and stain. These include:

  • Eating habits
    Habitual consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, carrots or other deeply-coloured beverages and foods can cause significant staining over time.
  • Smoking
    Nicotine in cigarettes leaves brown deposits which gradually seep into teeth and cause discolouration.
  • Age
    Over the years, wear and tear and stain buildup can darken teeth. The enamel surface is worn down, turning more transparent and allows yellow dentin – the core substance of the tooth – to show through.
  • Original colour
    Our inborn teeth colour varies from person to person, ranging from yellowish-brown to greenish-grey, and deepens over time.

Many people may have tried alternative methods or folk prescriptions to whiten their teeth. However, these clinically unproven and non-professional treatments often produce unsatisfactory results.

Teeth Whitening? Is it Safe?

Teeth whitening treatment is a minimally invasive and popular dental procedure to brighten and whiten discoloured teeth. The techniques involved have been well-evaluated over the years, and produce visible results. The active bleaching ingredients in most whitening products, carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, are safe for the human body when the procedures are followed as directed.

However, certain risks are present that you should be aware of. They include:

  • Teeth sensitivity
    Bleaching can result in a momentary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch. This usually only last a while, unless the patient has pre-existing conditions, such as gum recession, cracks in teeth, and other enamel problems.
  • Gum irritation
    If the whitening product touches the gums, irritation can develop. Such irritation normally persists for a few days, subsiding after the concentration of the bleaching or whitening product lowers.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

A variety of teeth whitening services are available to suit your needs. They include:

  • In-office Chair Side Bleaching
    This is suitable for people who want visible results fast. Your gums are first protected by a rubber guard, before the dentist applies a relatively high concentration of peroxide gel to your teeth. The gel typically remains on your teeth for 1-2 hours. Patients with stubborn stains or discolouration may need repeated treatments.
  • Dentist-supervised Take-home whitening
    This is recommended for individuals who prefer to whiten their teeth in the convenience of their homes. The dentist provides you with a whitening kit, which usually consists of the bleaching gel, bleaching trays that resemble mouth guards, and syringes to insert the gel. You will be taught how to use them. This method costs less than in-office bleaching, and the whitening process is more gradual and gentler on your teeth.

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