A perfect smile usually comes with a set of white teeth and that takes effort to achieve. Most of our teeth stains are categorised into intrinsic and extrinsic stains. Intrinsic stains occur in the dentin and these are the stains that give your teeth a yellowish hue. Extrinsic stains occur on the outer layer of the teeth which is the enamel. Today, we have many teeth whitening options available to achieve a brighter smile, so which are the safe and effective options and which are the ones we should avoid?
We will share with you some of the most common products and procedures available
Option 1 – Whitening Toothpaste
We can purchase whitening toothpaste readily from supermarkets or drugstores. They are cheap and convenient but how effective are these products? Most whitening toothpaste contains abrasive mechanical cleaners which can remove extrinsic stains over time however they do not remove internal discolouring. Prolonged usage of whitening toothpaste may also cause damage to your teeth
Option 2 – DIY Whitening Kits
Over-the-counter or DIY whitening kits might be easy on your wallet but can have a detrimental effect on your teeth if used wrongly. Most of these kits, if HSA approved, contains 0.1% concentration of hydrogen peroxide which is very ineffectual compared to the ~4% that is allowed to be dispensed by dentists.
A recent commentary on CNA covered the study of five commonly available OTC products and detailed the damage that can occur from the usage of these products. With the convenience of e-commerce, many of us may also purchase DIY teeth whitening kits online.
Option 3 – In-office Whitening Treatment
Dentists usually carry out this procedure at the clinic which usually takes about an hour or two. The dentist will first do routine scaling and polishing before applying the whitening gel. Thereafter, the dentist will activate the gel whitening properties with laser light. You can usually see a difference from the first session. However, this may differ from individuals based on the state of discoloured teeth. You may need multiple sessions to get your desired shade of white teeth.
Option 4 – Take Home Teeth Whitening Kit
These kits are different from Option 2 as you can only buy them from dental clinics. Approved by HSA, it is a more convenient option if you do not have 2 hours for an in-office whitening treatment. On your first visit, the dentist will make dental impressions for customising trays for your teeth. On your second visit, a set of trays and bleaching gel will be provided for you. Usually, the dentist will do routine scaling and polishing on the second visit to ensure the gel have good contact with your teeth. The effects of this method are more gradual and may take weeks before you see a difference.
Other than these above teeth whitening options, the most important is the prevention of teeth discolouration. Avoid over-consumption of beverages such as coffee, tea, coke and red wine and quit smoking. Maintaining good dental habits such as brushing teeth regularly and flossing also plays a part.
If you wish to get more information on teeth whitening, please feel free to contact us.
Your dental family, Le MinT’S, is here for you.