Teeth Whitening FAQ


teeth2Teeth whitening, also known as dental bleaching, is a procedure carried out to make your teeth whiter. We’ve all noticed that over the years, teeth lose their white colour. They become yellow, brown and even grey in colour. This discoloring is sometimes a result of poor dental hygiene.

It is more commonly caused by:

  • Foods like curry, red wine, tea and coffee.
  • Smoking.
  • Drugs.
  • Age.
  • Trauma to the teeth.

Key Facts

Pain: Low
Duration : Long Term
Typical Cost : $70-500+
Sessions Needed : 1-5
Treatment Time : Medium

Essentially all of us have teeth which are gradually getting stained – this is where teeth whitening can help.

Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth whitening procedures can be traced all the way back to Ancient Rome, where people used goat milk and urine to make their teeth whiter.

Today, teeth whitening methods use carbamide peroxide to whiten the teeth. The peroxide penetrates the enamel and removes the stains on the teeth by bleaching them. Whitening can be done in-office which is done by a professional dentist. It can also be done at home whereby the patient carries out the procedure without any professional assistance. Patients can buy over the counter whitening toothpastes or use natural home remedies to whiten their teeth. Before you decide to whiten your teeth, seek the advice of a dentist. Different discolorations can be solved using different methods.

In Office Whitening

In-office teeth whitening method is carried out in a dental care clinic by a dentist. The procedure uses a protective layer on the gums to prevent them from getting chemical burns. The bleaching agent used is known as carbamide peroxide which later on, breaks down to form hydrogen peroxide. The hydrogen peroxide then bleaches the enamel part of your teeth.

Use of Lasers

Laser bleaching is another option you can use to whiten your teeth. It is also known as light-accelerated bleaching because it uses light energy to speed up the teeth whitening procedure. The most common types of lights used are halogen and LED. The light energy stimulates the peroxide molecules making the bleaching process faster. The hydrogen peroxide is exposed to this light for about 6 minutes to work effectively.

Teeth that have gone through endodontic therapy undergo internal bleaching to whiten the teeth. The dentist drills a hole into the pulp chamber. After cleaning, the hole is then sealed and the root canal is filled with a rubber like substance. The peroxide gel works inside the teeth. The peroxide is sealed within the teeth for a few days and then replaced as required.

Home Whitening

Like spray tanning, teeth whitening can also be done at home. Some products include mouth washes, toothpastes and chewing gums. You can consult with your dentist about the best kind of product to buy. Home remedies can also be used to whiten teeth. These remedies include the use of lemon juice, apples, orange peels, strawberries, baking soda and wood ash. They are popularly known as natural teeth whitening methods. Fruits such as lemons, strawberries, oranges and apples have acid in them which helps in whitening your teeth.

However, precaution should be taken when dealing with these acids because of their potential to damage your teeth. Ensure you brush your teeth with commercial toothpaste after using these natural ingredients. Always use warm water to rinse your mouth afterwards.

Home Treatment

You can make your own whitening toothpaste by mixing baking soda with hydrogen peroxide. Use one part of baking soda and two parts of hydrogen peroxide. You should not use this toothpaste on a daily basis. The normal whitening gels use peroxide as the active component. However, peroxide lacks the ability to remove stains on dental surfaces such as porcelain and plastic. It only works on organic surfaces. Stain out swab is used to whiten non-organic dental surfaces such as plastic and porcelain.

Sensitive Teeth

One of the main Teeth whitening side effects is increased tooth sensitivity. Chemical burns can also occur when the oxidising agent used was highly concentrated. The effect of teeth whitening does not last forever and hence you have to keep repeating the procedure exposing your teeth to more pain. This is because the procedure dehydrate your teeth making them white. When they rehydrate, the tooth colour goes back to what it used to be.

It’s often better to get the treatment from a dentist. Not only will it be much safer, the results should be better too.