5 Common Teeth Whitening Mistakes

19 Jun 2023

5 Common Teeth Whitening Mistakes

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure that can improve the appearance of your smile. However, there are some common mistakes that people make when attempting to whiten their teeth.

1. Not consulting your dentist beforehand

There are various reasons why your teeth appear yellow or stained. Some of these reasons include stains from food and smoking, tooth decay, discoloured tooth fillings, dental fluorosis and so on. Your dentist can assess if whitening is the best option for you. A proper diagnosis and treatment plan is the key to ensuring good results.

2. Ignoring dental problems and hygiene

For a successful outcome, your teeth and gums must be in good condition before whitening. Your dentist can help to confirm the absence of tooth decay or active gum disease, and treat pre-existing problems, if any. If you have sensitive teeth, do get it addressed prior to teeth whitening. This is because the whitening process can cause increased sensitivity. General sensitivity can be managed with use of sensitive toothpaste or a mouth rinse for 2 to 4 weeks prior to treatment. Often, sensitive teeth could also be caused by over-zealous brushing, creating abrasion cavities on the roots of your teeth. These cavities should be identified and filled before whitening.

3. Over or inappropriate use of whitening products

DIY whitening hacks are all over the internet. Most seen are the use of baking soda, charcoal, or whitening toothpaste. These products generally make use of abrasive particles to remove external stains on the surfaces of your teeth, giving them a brighter appearance. However, it is important to understand they do not change the internal colour of your teeth. In fact, abrasive particles could cause more harm than good to your teeth when used inappropriately.

4. Not seeking professional teeth whitening treatment

The only way to change the internal colour of your teeth is by using a chemical called Peroxide. The difference between salon whitening and professional whitening is the use of Hydrogen Peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide concentrations higher than 3% can only be obtained by dental clinics. On the contrary, salons typically tout the use of “non-peroxide gels”, or a salt solution.

5. Neglecting Maintenance

Want to maintain the colour of your newly whitened teeth while still drinking your daily coffee? Sure, you can. Take-home kits containing peroxide gels help you keep your colour fresh for longer. Each take-home kit comes with a customised tray (which looks similar to a retainer) for you to dispense the gel in. It is meant to be done every 3 months, for 3 days each time.

Whitening your teeth can enhance your smile and boost your confidence. However, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can damage your teeth or reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. Don’t forget to consult your dentist before embarking on your smile makeover!

Interested in trying professional teeth whitening treatment?

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Dr Ng Wei Xuan

Dr Ng Wei Xuan is a general dentist practising at The Dental Studio at Tai Thong (Potong Pasir)

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