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Tooth Whitening (Vital Teeth)

Introduction

Tooth whitening can be a highly effective way of lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surfaces. It cannot make a complete colour change but it will lighten the existing shade.

Who Needs Tooth Whitening?

Tooth whitening is ideal for people who have unrestored teeth (no fillings) and healthy gums. Individuals with yellow tones to their teeth respond best. It is usually done to treat the problem of intrinsic staining such as staining caused by consumption of tetracycline below 12 years old.

This procedure is not recommended for everyone. Your dentist can advice you on whether whitening procedures would be effective for you.

How Is Whitening Done?

Professional bleaching is the most common form of tooth whitening.

First the dentist will put a rubber shield or a gel on your gums to protect the soft tissue. They will then apply the whitening product to your teeth, either by painting directly onto your teeth or by using a specially made tray which fits into your mouth like a gum-shield.


Gel is placed on Gums

Whitening product painted on teeth

The light will be positioned over the teeth

Before whitening procedure

After whitening procedure

Other Procedures

There is now laser whitening or ‘power whitening’. A light or laser is directed on the teeth to activate the chemical. Colour changes can be achieved more quickly using these procedures.

Are There Any Side Effects Associated With The Treatment?

Some people may find that their teeth have become sensitive to cold during or after the treatment. Others report discomfort in the gums, a sore throat or white patches on the gum line. These symptoms are usually temporary and should disappear within a few days of finishing the treatment.

If any of these side effects continue you should go to your dentist.

How Long Does This Whitening Procedure Take?

The duration of this procedure varies from an hour to making a few visits depending on the severity of your tooth discolouration and materials used.

What Are The Cost Involved?

Whitening treatment is not routinely done at the government dental clinic. It is only offered to those with special indications as determined by the dental officer. Private charges will vary depending on the number of teeth treated and materials used. Laser or power whitening will be more expensive than professional bleaching. We recommend you get a written estimate of the cost before you start any treatment.

What About At Home Procedures And Products?

There are several types of products available for use at home, which can either be dispensed by your dentist or purchased over-the-counter. As tooth whitening is a complicated procedure, you are advised to have it done only after a thorough examination and assessment of your teeth by a dentist.

How Long Will My Teeth Stay Whiter?

The effects of whitening can last up to three years. However, this will vary depending whether you smoke, eat or drink products that can stain your teeth. Always ask your dentist for an opinion before you start the treatment.

Last reviewed : 25 April 2014
Writer : Dr. Roshima bt. Mohd Sharif
Reviewer : Dr. Rohani bt. Mahmood
Dr. Chua Meei Jinn

 

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