Teeth are porous in nature and made up of hollow tube-like structures known as dentin tubules. Staining occurs when the surface (‘enamel’) picks up stains from food and beverages through the dentine tubules. Acidic food and beverages such as carbonated drinks and red wine erode the enamel, thus increasing the pick-up rate of stains from other food substances. Some stains are actually caused by pigments embedded in plague that has become coloured.
Examples of teeth-staining food and drinks are coffee, tea, red wine, fruit juices, blueberries, cherries and curry. To reduce your teeth’s exposure to them, it is recommended that you
- use a straw to drink;
- finish them in one or two sittings rather than eat or sip them throughout the day;
- brush your teeth after eating.
Extrinsic stains caused by food and beverages are usually reversible and responds well to good oral care, professional cleaning and whitening treatment.
What is the simplest and cheapest way to whiter teeth?
The most basic step to cleaner and whiter teeth is to see a dentist for Scaling and Polishing. Cleaning the teeth will remove the yellowish-black tartar which will make the teeth appear whiter. Polishing will remove the surface stains such as coffee, tea, smoking etc. However, Scaling and Polishing can only return your teeth to the “original” color. If you want the teeth even whiter, you have to go for Teeth Whitening.
What are the various forms of Teeth Whitening?
There are two (2) main forms of Teeth Whitening as follows:
- Take Home Teeth Whitening
- Chair side/in-Office Teeth Whitening
Take Home Teeth Whitening
The Dentist will take an impression of your teeth and custom made a set of trays that will specially fit your teeth. This will ensure that the whitening gel used can be applied onto your teeth and not “spilled over” to the gums and tongue. The Dentist will prescribe the concentration of bleaching gel to be used after an assessment of your teeth condition. You will need to wear the tray with the gel for 6 hours a day for about 5 days to 2 weeks.
Chair side or In-Office Teeth Whitening
The actual clinical time for the chair side teeth whitening is about 45 minutes to 1 hour. In most cases, an immediate whitening result is seen. The teeth whitening procedure itself is not painful. However a proper examination and diagnosis by the Dentist should be conducted before any form of teeth whitening procedures. This is because the teeth and gums should be healthy before starting. For instance, decayed teeth should be filled up.
For the best effect, the Dentist may recommend a combination of Chair side and Take home Teeth Whitening procedures. The additional Take Home kit is to whiten the teeth further and to ensure a more long lasting result. Furthermore, the Take Home kit can also be used as maintenance after the chair side whitening.