Do you want whiter teeth?

Teeth whitening, is either the restoration of a natural tooth shade or whitening beyond the natural shade. Restoration of the underlying natural tooth shade is possible by simply removing surface stains caused by extrinsic factors, stainers such as tea, coffee, red wine and tobacco.

Have you tried everything?

Here are 7 ways to improve the colour of your teeth. Even if some are obvious, others you may not have thought of.

Remember to always seek expert advice from your dentist.

1. Prevent staining

Yes another negative to smoking! All forms of tobacco including cigarette smoking and chewing betel quid stain your teeth. According to the Australian Dental Association, cigarette staining is usually superficial and can be removed by a scale/clean at the dentist. Over time, the staining can spread into cracks and teeth may become permanently stained.

2. Brush Your Teeth — Well!

Chromogenic bacteria can cause yellow, orange and even green staining on teeth. It is more common in children’s teeth, especially in mouth breathers and when taking antibiotics.

3. Drink through a straw?

Well in theory, the less time coffee or tea has on your teeth the less chance you have of staining them. You may be better off having a glass of water afterwards instead or chewing some gum.

4. Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes remove stains on the tooth surface either through abrasive components such as silica or through an active peroxide ingredient. Hydrogen peroxide mouthrinses have a low concentration in the range of about 3%. They are good at temporarily removing stains but not for long term whitening color changes.

5. Home Whitening

You can do whitening at home during the day or overnight, depending on the prescription of your dentist. Your dentist makes whitening trays, that fit snugly onto your teeth. Then you apply a small amount of gel. Most gels are made of carbamide peroxide which breaks down to about one third strength hydrogen peroxide. You can enhance the effectiveness of using lower concentration gel by keeping the gel on the teeth for longer periods of time at home.

6. In Chair Whitening

High strength hydrogen peroxide is applied to your teeth and activated with an ultra-violet light. This is the most effective way of breaking down large pigments into smaller molecules that are deeper inside the teeth. They no longer absorb as much light and and appear colorless or white. Unfortunately, as teeth age they become less porous and more resistant to changing color.

7. Laser Whitening

Some stains are intrinsic or developmental, which means they have always been there and were formed during teeth development. Perhaps there was too high concentration of fluoride, a local trauma or a systemic illness. Lasers can be used to generate a higher amount of free radicals to target even the most difficult peroxide-resistant molecules in teeth with heavy tetracycline/anti-biotic staining.

Risks of Teeth Whitening

1. Teeth sensitivity (common)
2. Gum staining (rare)
3. Cervical resorption (rare)
4. No color improvement (rare)

Tips for Teeth Whitening

1. Use sensitive toothpaste for two weeks prior to teeth whitening and consider taking a painkiller before in chair whitening.
2. Remember to go on a ‘white diet’ for at least 10 days after whitening as your teeth will be more porous and can take up stains.
3. Get your teeth thoroughly checked to reduce sensitivity during whitening.

Remember, any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified oral health practitioner or dentist.


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