What are the types of whitening procedures available?
- In-office whitening
This procedure uses high concentrations of the whitening agent. Your dentist needs to take precautions to protect your gums, lips, and face. Visible effects can usually be seen after about an hour of treatment.
- Take home whitening
Products used in home whitening have lower concentrations than the in-office kit. Your dentist will make an individualized, snugly fitting tray to hold the whitening gel against your teeth. The usage regimens vary for different products and visible results can usually be seen after a few sessions of use.
What are the limitations of whitening?
Internal stains in teeth caused by sickness or certain medications may not improve significantly with whitening Additionally, stains that are irregular or multi-coloured are difficult to treat because the teeth may not become uniformly coloured, even after whitening.
Existing restorations such as fillings and crowns are not affected by the whitening gel. Hence they may become more obvious after the natural teeth have been whitened. You may have to replace these restorations to achieve the best results.
For suitability of whitening treatment, it is best to visit your dentist for a full evaluation.
Are there any side effects to whitening?
Your teeth may be hypersensitive during the use of these products but such sensitivity is usually temporary and decreases once treatment has been completed. Some patients also report discomfort and irritation to the gums due to mouth trays that are ill fitting, causing the gel to overflow onto the gums. Do see your dentist for more information on these side effects.
How long can the whitening effect last?
Typically, the whitening effect can last anywhere from a few months to a year. The results vary due to differences in the structure of all our teeth, hygiene and lifestyle habits like the consumption of coffee, tea, coke, curry and of course, smoking.
Should I do teeth whitening at a beauty salon or with bleaching kit bought on the Internet?
Administration of whitening agents without supervision or by unqualified professionals – could cause injuries, such as chemical burns to the gums and mouth, severe tooth sensitivity and unnaturally-coloured teeth. Some whitening products online have little or no beneficial effect on the colour of your teeth and may also have the potential to cause irreversible harm.
Moreover, there might also be other more pressing oral health problems in your mouth that can only be diagnosed by your dentist. Therefore, whitening treatment is best performed after a comprehensive pre-treatment dental examination and with close supervision by registered dental professionals. This is to ensure that the treatment is safe and effective.
Ministry of Health’s stance on provision of teeth whitening treatment by non-dental professionals:
“…remind the public that tooth whitening or bleaching should only be done by trained dentists.”