There are 2 ways to whiten your teeth
(1) A customised whitening HomeKit – the dentist makes customised trays for your teeth and gives you a whitening kit to take at home and use for 14 days.
(2) Chairside whitening – getting your teeth whitened in the dental chair
A note of whitening toothpastes: The whitening toothpastes only work for as long as you are using the product. Once you stop using the product, your teeth go back to their original colour. They work but removing the outer layer of your teeth. They have abrasive particles in their formula. Anything abrasive to enamel is not good for our teeth.
Whitening home kit from the dentist: The dentist takes a mould of your top and bottom teeth with a material similar to play dough or putty which sets in the mouth within about 2 minutes. The impressions then get send off to a laboratory where the customised bleach trays are made out of a special material. It takes the lab about 5 working days to make. You pick up the pair of trays and you can start using it that day. You put a bit of the whitening product in each tooth (literally a drop in each tooth) and wear it in your mouth for an hour every night for 14 days. Every 3 days you’ll notice your teeth getting whiter and brighter.
The home kit is my go-to for first-timers who have never whitened their teeth before. Not only does it last longer than any other way of whitening, it also causes the least amount of sensitivity. I often get asked by patients, ‘how long does the whitening last for?’ It depends on how often you drink tea, coffee, smoke, and have any dental habits that may contribute to staining your teeth. I recommend topping up on the dental whitening to give the teeth a boost of freshness. Topping up just means wearing the home kit whitening tray for an hour once or twice a year. From what I see with my patients, the whitening lasts about 5+ years with an annual top-up.
Whitening in the dental chair: this takes an hour and that’s it.
Getting your teeth whitened in the dental chair is the last option. It’s not my first choice for patients as it causes the highest level of discomfort. Apart from having to sit in the chair for an hour, your teeth are left feeling sensitive for the rest of the day. The pain is 100% short-term. As the saying goes, ‘beauty is pain’. It’s definitely not as sore as some other beauty procedures that women and men endure for beauty, such as hair waxing, piercings or getting tattoos. The great thing about chair-side whitening is in 45minutes, your teeth are sparkling white and you don’t have to commit to daily routines in whitening your teeth.
For the ladies, the comparison between chair-side whitening and homecare whitening is like the tooth version of ‘shellac’ or ‘sns’ for tooth whitening vs the regular nail polish. Once your teeth are whitened in the chair, you can move on with your day-to-day business.