You see them on the TV, celebrity pearly whites. And you wonder, teeth aren’t naturally that white are they? It’s not a completely natural thing though most dental clinics in Malaysia offer various options to whitening/brighten your bite. Our experts Dr Joon Muthamah, Dr Yap Chee Wee and Dr Halina weigh in.
1. What are the common whitening services that most dental clinics provide?
Chairside (professional) laser whitening – This uses a combination of a peroxide based gel and a specially designed lamp where the light accelerates the function of the gel. During the procedure, a whitening gel is applied to the outer surface of all the "smiling teeth" and will be exposed to the light for three (3) timed sessions. During the entire treatment, the lips, cheek and gums will be isolated with retractors. The shade of front teeth will be assessed and shown to patient before and after treatment.
Home bleaching kit and trays – Moulds of the patient's jaws are taken and the bleaching trays are constructed. The trays together with the kit are dispensed to the patient with clear instructions on usage.
2. How much does it cost on average?
Anywhere from RM600 – RM2000 depending on the type of procedure.
3. Is it painful? Are there any negative side effects?
There is no pain involved. For chairside bleaching of vital (healthy) teeth, tooth sensitivity may occur at varying degree immediately after treatment but usually subsides within 24 hours. During the treatment, gum irritation and dry lips may occur which will reverse within 30 minutes.
4. How long does the whitening effect lasts? What can we do to maintain or prolong it?
1-2 years depending on lifestyle and diet. It is natural for whitened teeth to regress somewhat in their shading over time. Diet high on various staining agents (coffee, tea, curry, soy sauce etc) may accelerate relapse. The results of the treatment are not intended to be permanent and secondary, repeat or touch up treatments may be needed.
5. Do we need to touch up every once in a while? Every 6 months? Every year? Does touching up cost a little less than the first time?
Touching up is advisable if your teeth gets yellowish easily in a short period of time. An annual touch up is possible though one should make sure that they continue using the special whitening toothpaste and mouthwash daily. The touch ups cost very much less than the actual whitening procedure.
6. What are most patient’s attitudes towards teeth whitening?
The demand for the service is definitely growing in Malaysia especially among the urbanites that have greater dental awareness and affluence. A great looking smile is a symbol of your social standing, it is confidence inspiring. It speaks volumes for ones personality and character. You stand out.
7. Do you have any advice on maintaining our pearly whites after the whitening services? Or even before?
It is always advisable to keep good oral hygiene (brush twice, floss and rinse) daily and maintain a 6 monthly check up regime. A balanced diet which is not too highly acidic, soft brushing method with a soft bristled brush, non abrasive tooth paste and controlled use of mouth rinse following the manufacturers' instruction are important.
8. What are some of the options people can pick up at the pharmacy? Are they effective?
Over the counter options may cause problems if they are not used properly according to the systems instructions. The whitening agent are either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. They are acidic and can cause gum burns or irritation if they are overflowed onto the gums. If they are left too long in the mouth, this too can cause problems like hypersensitivity of the teeth. And as mentioned before, the results are most of the time minimal, therefore problems like these, if they happen, are really unnecessary. Choose the best option to whiten your teeth. We recommend that you speak to your dentist before attempting it.
Dr Joon Muthamah
Joon Dental Clinic
32-1 Jalan USJ 10/1, Taipan Triangle, 47620 Subang Jaya, Selangor
Tel: +603 56363171
Dr Yap Chee Wee
Jaya Dental Surgery
Ground floor, PG1-13A, Jaya 33, Jalan Semangat, Section 13, 46200 Selangor
Tel: +603 79575611, +603 79574320
Halina dental clinic @ Klinik pergigian halina
7A, First floor, lorong ara kiri 1, Lucky garden, 59100 Bangsar
Tel: +603 20921002, +603 20921762.