South Africans are spending up to R5,500 to bleach their teeth in an attempt to get the perfect Hollywood smile. 
The cosmetic procedure entails using chemicals. This includes hydrogen peroxide to remove stains and discolourations on the enamel from coffee, pigmented food and plaque.
The dean of the University of Western Cape (UWC)’s faculty of dentistry, Yusuf Osman, said people have been drawn to the procedure due to increasing use of social media. 
“[It is] particularly gaining ground depending on special occasions such as getting married or going to do a photo shoot for an advert,” Osman told Business Insider South Africa. 
He said the procedure can either be completed at home or under the supervision of a dentist. 
The over-the-counter home procedure, costing between R750 and R1,500, uses a smaller dose of the chemical applied up to 35 minutes every day for a couple of weeks due to its lower strength.
The dentist-supervised home procedure uses higher doses applied over shorter periods.
The procedure completed in the dentist chair, priced between R3,000 and R5,500, is completed over an hour where a strong dose of the chemical is applied with a UV light to increase its effect.
Eitan Epstein, general dentist at FresherBreath Houghton, said the effect lasts six months to two years depending on a person’s smoking, coffee, tea and red wine consumption habits.
The home applications tend to last much shorter, and need to be touched up more regularly.
Epstein said before bleaching at a dentist, a routine consultation is completed to make sure there are no cavities or gum diseases.
The dentist will also check to see if there are any fillings on the teeth as their colour will not change during bleaching and therefore need to be replaced, he said.
Rodney Jardim, oral hygienist at De Necker Dentistry in Melville Johannesburg, said teeth whitening is a very safe procedure with limited dangers.
Sensitivity and gingival irritation are usually the biggest issues patients report, and therefore a barrier is applied to keep the chemicals from hurting any flesh, he said.
Jardim said he would encourage anyone who isn’t allergic to the chemicals to have the procedure.
“After bleaching, patients usually can’t stop smiling, you can immediately see the improvement in their self-esteem and self-worth.” 

  • South Africans are spending up to R5,500 to whiten their teeth.
  • The procedure uses chemicals to remove stains and discolourations on the enamel of teeth.
  • It is considered safe for most humans, with teeth sensitivity the biggest complaint patients typically have.
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Article Source: James de Villiers , Business Insider SA, May 23, 2019, 05:53 AM