I'm a firm believer in walking the talk.
- Undergoing orthodontic treatment later in life than most people (mid 20s) despite the stigma of being an adult adorned with conventional braces.
- Having all 4 wisdom teeth surgically removed in one sitting under local anaesthesia without sedation.
These are just some examples of how I've put myself out there to experience dental treatments first-hand so I can reassuringly tell my patients with full confidence “I did it too, and it's really quite alright.”
Now, coming back to the topic - while having done more cases of teeth whitening for my patients than I can remember, I've only ever done Take-Home Whitening kits on myself, and have never quite found the opportunity to have In-Office Tooth Whitening done.
Thankfully, my lovely colleague Dr Yvonne Yap and I managed to find matching slots in our schedules to finally give this a whirl!
Cutting to the chase, I will distill my personal experience with In-Office Tooth Whitening into three phases - Pre-Whitening, Whitening Procedure and Post-Whitening.
For most of my patients, this involves some form of cleaning (ie scaling and polishing, pumice polishing or prophyjet spray). For myself, we did a simple pumice polishing as my teeth were already quite clean (obviously!) This stage really ought to cause no real discomfort and as expected, I found it a total breeze.
The placement of lip retractors also went without a hitch and I didn't feel any discomfort from them for the entire duration of treatment. Perhaps I just have a naturally large mouth!
Physical soft tissue barriers were then placed (cotton rolls and liquid dams). These were completely imperceptible and I only felt a slight tugging pressure when they were removed at the end of treatment.
2. Whitening procedure
Coming into this phase with some preconceived notions, I was constantly waiting for some form of sensitivity to kick in. It never came.
We went through the full 4 cycles of Zoom In-Office Whitening, and I didn't feel anything from start till end, beyond the refreshing of gels between cycles. Strangely, I found this a tad disappointing.
It was however a good opportunity for a nice nap in the dental chair. Hope Yvonne didn't hear me snore!
Probably half an hour after the whole treatment was completed, I started getting tingling in my teeth. I would describe it as a sporadic and short split second pulse of energy in the tooth, and never with the same tooth.
This went on irregularly for the next 2 to 3 hours, and then subsided. It was more distracting than uncomfortable and did not interfere with my day to day activities. This would later manifest as mild sensitivity to cold stimulus (drink and food) for most of the following day, after which any associated sensation of tooth whitening was then completely gone.
One of the hardest parts of this experience for me would have to be the avoidance of coloured food and drink post-whitening.
I attended a birthday dinner event that same evening, and it was tiring having to constantly evaluate whether I could or couldn't have this and that on the menu. My dining companions however were kind enough to accommodate me and open a bottle of white wine instead of red. True friends!
The biggest downer of all would probably be having to manage my physical dependance on caffeine. Yes, I bet some of you are nodding your heads in agreement right now. I love my coffee, and abstaining from it for 2 whole days was positively excruciating. For those like me, you'll be pleased to know that I survived and am happily sipping on one now as I write this.
So this is my experience with In-Office Teeth Whitening in a nutshell. It may quite likely be a different experience for different people but hey, “I did it too and it's really quite alright.”
For any of your further teeth whitening queries, just head over to Ask DxD to ask away!
Dr Huang Shiming is a dental surgeon at TP Dental. Before joining TP Dental Surgeons as an Associate, he also headed dental clinics in public institutions as Dental Officer-in-charge. Outside of dentistry, Dr Shiming is an avid car enthusiast, unashamed adrenaline junkie and photography hobbyist.