Teeth Whitening

teeth whitening

Teeth whitening is a procedure done to create a brighter and whiter smile through bleaching of the natural teeth. There are different causes of teeth discolouration, and it can be divided into 2 main categories:


Intrinsic stain: Stains present within the tooth structure.
eg. Tetracycline stains, Fluorosis


Extrinsic stains: Stains present on surface of teeth
eg. Coffee, Tea, Tobacco


Extrinsic stains can be polished off using air polish as it sits on the surface of the teeth. Intrinsic stains on the other hand can only be removed through teeth whitening. Long term coffee tea drinker may also develop yellowish teeth due to seepage of the stains into the deeper layers of the teeth. Prosthesis such as veneers, crowns, bridges and fillings cannot be whitened and would need to be replaced to match the whitened teeth.

What are the types of teeth whitening?

1. Chairside whitening
2. Home whitening
3. Express whitening

What are the differences between types of teeth whitening?

Chairside whitening

teeth whitening at smile doctor dental clinic

Chairside whitening is a powerful whitening treatment which yields the fastest result. It is done chairside in the dental clinic by the operating dentist. It usually involves the use of a strong whitening agent in form of gel that is applied on teeth in 15 minutes cycle each. The entire procedure takes around an hour.


Prior to application of whitening gel, the gums need to be protected as it can be bleached if in contact with the whitening gel. A whitening light is then used in the process to facilitate the oxidation process of the whitening gel. The result is immediate and can last 1-2 years depending on care and diet. It can also be repeated in a week’s time if lighter shades of teeth is desired.


However, due to the dehydration of teeth in the process, it might cause transient sensitivity that can be controlled by using sensitive toothpaste as well as taking an over-the counter pain killer such as Paracetamol. The sensitivity usually subsides within 3 days. 

Chairside whitening can also be combined with home whitening for maximum result and as a weekly maintenance to prolong the whitening result.


Home whitening

Home whitening at smile doctor dental clinic

Home whitening is a whitening procedure done at the comfort of your own home.
It uses a relatively milder whitening agent which result in less sensitivity especially for sensitive patients. An impression is taken to fabricate the whitening trays where whitening gel will be placed on the trays and worn by patients 30 minutes to 1 hour during the day or during sleep. The process is repeated for 10-14 days and visible result can be seen.


Result for home whitening treatment is comparable to Chairside whitening and usually produces less sensitivity. The leftover whitening gel can be kept and used weekly as a maintenance and therefore this option is suitable for coffee tea drinker who tends to stain their teeth more frequently. Home whitening can be combined with Chairside whitening for longer lasting result.

Express whitening

Express whitening at smile doctor dental clinic

Express whitening is done after a routine scaling for a brighter result on top of polishing. It is a 15 minutes procedure that causes no sensitivity on the teeth. Whitening gel is applied onto the teeth and whitening light is used. No gum protection is needed for this procedure as no strong chemical is used.

However, due to the mild whitening agent used as well as short duration of exposure,
it is usually just brightens the teeth rather than whitening it and results are short lived. It is especially suitable patients wanting a temporary boost in their smile for an event.

Real patients teeth whitening result

*Results vary from individual to individual*

FAQ for Teeth whitening

Teeth whitening can cause some mild sensitivity to the teeth and gums and will usually subside on its own. During the teeth whitening treatment, gums are protected and fluoride gel is applied to reduce the sensitivity. We might also prescribe some pain killers just in case the pain gets more than tolerable.

Teeth whitening helps to break down stains within the teeth and expose the natural white colour that is hidden under the stains. If the tooth is too translucent or it is greyish in nature, whitening can be used as the first step before veneers are placed to cover the greyish discolouration.

For chairside whitening, you will be able to see the result immediately. If the stains are severe it might take 2-3 sessions of 1 week apart.

It will depend on your diet. Generally teeth whitening can last for 1-2 years. Coloured food such as coffee, tea, curry and red wine tend to stain the teeth easily so if you are a coffee lover, you might want consider getting a home whitening kit as a maintenance to prolong the whitening result. 

Teeth whitening products contain peroxide-based bleaching agents (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide) that break down stains into smaller molecules, making the color less concentrated and teeth appear whiter.

Yes, when performed by a dentist or using products approved by dental professionals. Overuse or improper use of whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity or damage.

  • Most people can benefit from teeth whitening, but it’s not recommended for:

    • Children under 16.
    • Pregnant or lactating women.
    • People with sensitive teeth, gum disease, or worn enamel.
    • Individuals with dental restorations (fillings, crowns, veneers) on front teeth, as these won’t whiten.
  • Chairside whitening: Typically takes about 1-2 hours.
  • Home whitening: Usually around 10-14 days, depending on the product and desired results.

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