What is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening is a treatment where stained or otherwise discolored teeth are whitened through a chemical process. Usually, there are two types of teeth whitening treatment: In-clinic and tray system (take home kits).

Why do I need teeth whitening done?

There are two different types of stains that may appear on your teeth: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic stains refer to cases where the surface of the tooth’s enamel is stained and they can generally be corrected through scaling or polishing of the enamel. Some reasons why you might have extrinsic stains on your teeth include:

  1. Consuming colored drinks
    Anyone with a diet of coffee, tea, sodas or red wine will likely develop stains on their teeth over time.
  2. Smoking
    The tar content in cigarettes tend to color the tooth around the gum line, giving it a yellowish appearance.
  3. Bad oral hygiene
    By not following good oral hygiene practices, dental plaque or calculus can accumulate on the tooth, causing discoloration.

Intrinsic stains on the teeth take place deeper within the teeth below the enamel, a layer of tissue known as the dentin. This causes a distinctive yellowish-grey hue to the tooth. Some factors that might cause intrinsic stains include use of antibiotics and other genetic or environmental factors.

What does the process of getting teeth whitening treatment look like?

There will be a short preparation to cover your lips and gums, protecting them from the whitening process. Only your teeth should be exposed. A whitening gel is then applied to your teeth and a UV light is shone on the teeth. For the next 60 to 90 minutes (a period of 15 minutes in 3 – 4 cycles), you will need to wait for the teeth whitening process to take effect. During this time, you will generally be allowed to listen to music or partake in other forms of entertainment.

Fitting the veneers usually takes about 45 minutes to over an hour, depending on how many veneers are being placed.

For tray system (take home kits), our dentist would need to take moulds (impressions) of the teeth. You can later place the gels on the custom made clear plastic trays at home. The gels need to be placed for about 30 minutes, but it may need more or less time.

What type of anaesthetic is used?

No anaesthetic is used but a mild analgesic (painkiller) is usually given before the procedure as some sensitivity is expected during the procedure. Sensitivity can also persist for a few days after the procedure.

How long does the procedure take?

The entire procedure takes about 90 minutes.

What to expect after the operation? Is there any aftercare?

No special care is required after getting teeth whitening, some desensitising gel may be needed. The color achieved will be immediate, but might fade after 8-9 months. How fast the whitening fades is due to a variety of factors, including diet and oral hygiene.

You are recommended to maintain the results with a home kit that you need to purchase.