First of all, it is important to understand what causes tooth discoloration in the first place.
The outermost layer of your teeth is enamel. Most of us start out with thick, sparkling white porcelain-like enamel. With age, enamel usually becomes worn down and more transparent, allowing the yellow colour of the next layer, dentine, to show through.
There are two categories of tooth staining:
- extrinsic (or external) staining – the most common causes being smoking, heavy consumption of tea/coffee/red wine and poor oral hygiene
- intrinsic (or internal) staining – which can result from trauma (such as a fall), excessive fluoride exposure while teeth are developing, or medication (tetracylines can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child up to the age of 8).
So, how can you get whiter teeth? Good oral hygiene and six-monthly dental check-ups and cleans are paramount in maintaining whiter teeth. Extrinsic staining can sometimes be removed by a professional clean and polish, whereas intrinsic staining will typically require further treatment.
Professional teeth whitening treatment is a recommended cosmetic procedure that can achieve noticeably whiter teeth and a brighter smile.
There are two different dental whitening options:
- In-chair whitening (eg “Zoom!”)
Significant colour change in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-chair whitening. We will first apply a rubber shield and liquid latex to protect your gums. Whitening gel is then applied to your teeth in 15 minute intervals that add up to an hour. A specialised blue light activates the gel and allows whitening to happen faster.
- Take-home whitening
You are provided with a kit that contains close-fitting custom-made bleaching trays and a user-friendly lower-concentration whitening gel. Whitening gel is applied on the trays, and you will need to wear these trays consistently for an hour every day for a week or two to achieve your desired result.
We also recommend this as a good option to maintain your result from in-chair whitening over the long haul.
Possible side-effects of teeth whitening treatments include:
- sensitivity – whitening can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure and touch (Post dental whitening sensitivity lasts no longer than a day or two. We also issue a sensitivity relief gel and toothpaste for home use after your treatment.)
- gum irritation – this can be experienced as a result of accidental contact between your gum and the whitening agent (Such irritation usually lasts no more than several days.)