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Engineering the perfect smile seems to be a Sisyphean task when almost everything we consume – from coffee to desserts – is said to cause tooth discolouration.

Lucky for us, there are teeth whitening solutions with varying price tags that are readily available for us to peruse.

Before we reveal to you where you can get yourself a suitable treatment, let’s delve into the 411 on teeth whitening so that you can attain pearly whites like your favourite stars and make a good first impression with a bright, white smile.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

To understand how it works, you have to first know that our teeth are semi-permeable, which allows bleaching chemicals used in teeth whitening treatments to lighten the colour of your choppers.

The bleaching agents involved in these treatments are typically hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, which penetrate the tooth enamel to remove intrinsic and extrinsic stains.

These chemicals oxidise pigment molecules to break down stains into smaller, less visible pieces to make the overall colour of your teeth appear lighter!

Meanwhile, professional whitening treatments typically use higher concentrations of peroxide than over-the-counter options. Light activation with lasers or lamps can further accelerate the breakdown process in some professional treatments.

There are also teeth whitening methods that combine peroxide and abrasive ingredients for a two-pronged approach, making them effective for both surface and deeper stains.

Types of Teeth Whitening Methods

Here’s a quick breakdown of different whitening options:

  • Professional treatments: Fastest and most effective, but also the most expensive. These usually involve concentrated peroxide gels and light activation.
  • Take-home kits: Gels, strips, or trays you use at home for a longer period. These are less expensive than professional treatments, but results may take longer.
  • Whitening toothpastes: As the mildest option, whitening toothpastes primarily removes surface stains. It can be used daily for maintenance after other whitening treatments.

Before you embark on your journey to whiter, pearl-like teeth, keep in mind that not everyone’s teeth whiten equally. Other factors come into play like age, genetics, and existing tooth colour.

For those with crowns, veneers, or fillings, whitening wouldn’t work as these restorations have their own colour and won’t respond to bleaching.

Additionally, sensitivity is a common side effect, especially with concentrated peroxide treatments, so talk to your dentist about these methods or if you experience significant discomfort.

Are At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits Effective?

do home whitening kits work photo source shiny diamond pexels

Photo source: Shiny Diamond/Pexels

Unless you clean your teeth with activated charcoal or baking soda (which we don’t really recommend you to), the cheapest way to whiten your teeth at home is to get a home kit.

Generally, home whitening kits are quite mild and are more suitable for light, extrinsic stains – we’re talking about the superficial ones that you get from smoking and drinking coffee.

At-home whitening kits usually contain low dosages of hydrogen peroxide (below 0.1%) as the bleaching agent, so it shouldn’t hurt or cause sensitivity unless used incorrectly or left on for too long.

Daily Vanity actually found an affordable home whitening kit that could brighten our teeth by five shades – read all about it here!

Related read: 19 Best Teeth Whitening Kits to Let Your Pearly Whites Shine, Including LED Light Devices and Colour Correctors!

Best Professional Teeth Whitening Treatments in Singapore

If you don’t trust yourself with home whitening kits, you can get the whitening done by an aesthetic salon or with your dentist.

The difference between the two is that the former usually employs a more cost-saving method called Light-Emitting Diode (LED) whitening, where a gel is applied to your teeth and activated with LED light.

The latter is the most effective—albeit costly—solution, as certified dentists are allowed to do chairside teeth whitening using bleaching agents in concentrations above 0.1%.

If you’re on a budget, you can consider these treatments at the following aesthetic salons.

How Much Improvement Can I Expect to See?

The extent of whitening and brightening of the teeth highly depends on the individual tooth condition as well as the cause of discolouration.

If you go to a dental clinic or an aesthetic salon for teeth whitening treatment, the professional will first consult with you pre-treatment to diagnose and plan the number of sessions needed before guiding you to achieve a shade of white that you’ll be happy with post-treatment.

4 Other Tips That You Can Practise for Cleaner, Whiter Teeth

teeth whitening tips photo source national cancer institute unsplash

Photo source: National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

  • Prevent stains by brushing your teeth after every meal.
  • Use an at-home whitening kit to prolong the results of your professional treatment.
  • Make an appointment with a dentist if you want a truly effective solution.
  • If you are going to a dental clinic to get your teeth whitened and brightened, be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions at home religiously to ensure the best results.