Teeth can become discoloured by stains on the enamel or by changes that happen inside the tooth. Dr. Tan Shuh Chern, dental surgeon at White Dental Group, shares how you can get a picture-perfect smile.
Extrinsic discolouration is when the enamel is stained by smoking, or coffee, wine, soda and other food and drinks. Instrinsic discolouration occurs when inner structure of the tooth, or the dentin, darkens or developes a yellow tint. “The latter has multiple causes. Some examples include overexposure to fluoride in childhood or trauma in a permanent tooth that resulted in internal bleeding and more,” says Dr. Tan Shuh Chern, founder of White Dental Group.
Age-related darkening is also the norm, as your dentin yellow naturally over the years, and can become exposed as tooth enamel wears with age and use. “The good news is, teeth whitening is a non-invasive and highly effective cosmetic dental treatment,” says Dr. Tan.
There are two ways you can get whiter, brighter teeth. The first is the conventional method of whitening teeth at home. Your dentist will make
a tray that fits your teeth surfaces, before dispensing a whitening gel that you can apply at home on your own.
“Studies have proven that teeth whitening procedures, when carried out under the supervision of a dentist, are safe, and do not cause any harm to the teeth enamel,” says Dr. Tan. While this requires more discipline, the results are good, as “the chemicals are released in a sustained manner at a lower concentration over a longer period of time,” explains Dr. Tan.
However, if you don’t have the time (or patience) to D-I-Y, then it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist. “Procedures such as Zoom or Britesmile can be used to whiten your teeth within an hour through the use of special lights that activate the whitening gel that is applied on your teeth,” says Dr. Tan.
“But,” he cautions, “the colour of your teeth might regress more easily, as compared to home whitening, if no maintenance procedures are carried out.”According to Dr. Tan, no one method of teeth whitening is more superior than the other, and your dentist will be able to advise you on the pros and cons of each during your consultation.
From The Finder (Issue 291), March 2018
More on The Finder: