What is the best tooth whitening option for you?

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A very popular topic spoken about very openly in social circles, tooth whitening is delivered in different formats and at different prices. There are three main types of tooth whitening.


This method involves taking impressions of your teeth and producing thin plastic trays to fit onto them. These trays fit your upper and lower teeth like a glove. Bleaching gel is then placed in the tray and when the tray is worn the bleach dispersers on the tooth surface. This is left in contact for 4-7hours during the day or at night for 3-7days.


  • Relatively cheap
  • Good efficiency
  • The trays are yours to keep while only buying new bleach, so these may be used indefinitely.
  • With already sensitive teeth, you may pace the bleaching load by skipping 1-2days in between bleaching so as to give the teeth a break. During those days you may also place desensitizing gel instead of bleach in the tray to alleviate any sensitivity.


  • Excessive bleach may leave the tray and irritate the gums.
  • The trays may be uncomfortable for the patient to wear.
  • Must repeat procedure every now and again to maintain their bleaching colour.
  • Uncertain what tooth colour the teeth will whiten to.

This method of whitening your teeth utilizes a laser/light system. The patient lies in the dental chair with a light fixed on his/her dentition. Of course the mouth and gums are isolated with cotton-wool and isolation dam material respectively, whilst the skin and lips are protected with sun-cream. The eyes are also protected with specific safety glasses preventing any damage. Bleaching gel is placed on the teeth and when the light is switched on the synergistic effect of the lamp with the bleach causes the teeth to whiten.


  • Very quick 45-60minutes
  • Very good results
  • No need to wear any bleaching trays


  • Slightly more expensive than the home-kit
  • May be too strong for young patients
  • Teeth may be sensitive for 24hours after the procedure
  • Must repeat procedure every now and again to maintain their bleaching colour.
  • Uncertain what tooth colour the teeth will whiten to.

The laser tooth whitening is done to achieve the whitest natural result and then maintained with bleaching trays as described in the home kit. This is the most effective cost-efficient method.


The method of veneering your teeth is the only form of tooth whitening not requiring any maintenance whitening procedures. It is also the form where you are guaranteed to whiten your teeth to whichever your preferred degree of whiteness is; to whichever tooth colour you prefer. This method involves minimal tooth filing and fixing of very thin porcelain facets onto your teeth.


  • The colour is exactly your chosen colour
  • Simultaneous tooth straightening as well as the whitening.
  • Colour doesn’t change, therefore no need for a maintenance program


  • Expensive
  • Albeit minimal, it involves some tooth filing
  • De-bonding or fracture of veneers
  • Irreversible

The whitest natural colour is a B1. The whitest available is a BL1HT( Bleaching shade with high translucency). This is 4 shades whiter than the whitest.

B1  -> B0 -> BL2 ->BL1 -> BL1HT

It is important to know what products and methods are out there as many phony unprofessional methods of tooth whitening are for sale on the high street. These may seriously damage your teeth. Stick to professional advice and ASK your dentist!

A Case Study

A 40+ year-old woman working in the beauty business wishes to revamp her smile. Requiring numerous crowns, bridges and veneers she wished to fix her teeth and chose a “sub-zero” bleaching white (BL1 HT) shade. Dentists tend to advise against such degree of whiteness as the teeth may look very unreal, but this patient got just what she wanted and was extremely happy.

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Dr Jean Paul Demajo

Dental and Implant Surgeon

Trained in London working in private practice in Malta


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