Teeth whitening- FAQ and myths

By Dr Oh Xue Ling BDS (Adelaide)

As the year draws to an end, many are considering teeth whitening to start the year with a dazzling smile. Here are some commonly asked questions regarding whitening. 

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay 

Question 1: Why are my teeth this colour?

There are many reasons why teeth are discoloured. Some of the causes may include staining from food and drinks, smoking, age, tooth decay, trauma to tooth, and certain medications. It is important to consult your dentist to investigate the cause of your discolouration as not everything can be solved with whitening.

Question 2: Is teeth whitening painful?

Some patients may experience teeth and gum sensitivity during the whitening procedure, especially if your teeth are already sensitive prior to whitening. However, this is usually transient and will gradually subside after a few days. Gum irritation may occur when the whitening gel accidentally comes into contact with your gums. This will also subside after a couple of days with no additional complications.

Question 3: Will whitening cause permanent damage to my teeth?

Tooth whitening products that are prescribed by dentists in Singapore are approved by the Singapore Dental Association and are safe to the patient, as long as proper consultation is done with a dentist prior to the procedure.

Question 4: My friend just did whitening and the results are wonderful. Will I get teeth as white as hers?

While dental whitening will result in a lighter shade of your teeth, everyone’s results will be different, depending on the type of discolouration and the condition of your teeth. For example, teeth with gray tones will not whiten as well as those with yellow tones. Your dentist will discuss with you the expectations of whitening depending on your teeth.

Question 5: Will the results from whitening be permanent?

Results from whitening can last for a period of time, depending on the food that you eat and your lifestyle. Regular “top-ups” can be done if you wish to maintain your pearly whites!

Question 6: Can everyone do whitening?

Whilst the chemicals are safe and approved, whitening is not recommended for some people, including pregnant/breastfeeding ladies, patients who are allergic to peroxide, young children below 16, patients with exposed root surfaces or active dental decay. Crowns/bridges, implants and fillings will not whiten, and may need to be replaced.

Before embarking on your whitening journey, a dental consultation is needed for your dentist to recommend the best products and treatment for you. Contact us for an appointment if you are interested in whitening your teeth.

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