Plastic surgery and beauty-enhancing procedures have always been taboo in Singapore, but there is a strange exception: somehow, it's socially acceptable to spend tons of money fixing your teeth to engineer the perfect smile.
Orthodontics (braces) is the most obvious example, costing anywhere from $3,200 to $10,000+. The other expensive aesthetic dental procedure is teeth whitening, which although temporary, can cost over $1,000+ per session.
Depending on your budget and the severity of your stains, there are three tiers of treatments you can consider - teeth whitening home kits, whitening services at the salon, and professional whitening by dentists. Here's how they compare in terms of price and effectiveness.
1. Teeth whitening home kits - the cheapest, but also the least effective
Short of brushing your teeth with activate charcoal or baking soda, the cheapest way to whiten your teeth at home is to get a home kit.
|Off-the-shelf home kits for teeth whitening||Price|
|Crest 3D White Whitestrips||$10.50 for three sachets|
|BlanX white shock teeth whitening treatment with LED bite||$33.90 for 50ml|
|iWhite instant teeth whitening kit||$49.90 for 10 trays|
|iWhite instant teeth whitening kit (dark stains)||$59.90 for 10 trays|
Home-use kits are usually quite mild, and are generally more suitable for light, extrinsic stains (like those superficial ones you get from smoking and drinking coffee).
They usually contain low dosages of hydrogen peroxide (under 0.1 per cent) as the bleaching agent. It shouldn't hurt and shouldn't cause sensitivity unless used incorrectly (e.g. if it was left on for too long).
Crest 3D Whitestrips (from $10.50)
A super popular home whitening product is the Crest Whitestrip. Although not available at local drugstores, many retailers sell it in Singapore and you can buy them on online marketplaces like Qoo10 and Lazada.
The cheapest is a set of three sachets ($10.50), which is good for three uses. You just need to press one strip over your teeth and leave on 30 minutes. According to the website, you need three days (three applications, once each day) to see a difference and 20 days to see full results.
Most people get the bigger boxes (like the 14 strip one for $42.70) for multiple uses.
BlanX whitening treatment with LED ($33.90)
If you're looking to pop by the local drugstore to pick one up, you can consider the BlanX's white shock teeth whitening treatment with LED bite. It's $33.90, and only available at Watson's.
This kit works like a toothpaste, except that it includes an LED device which you stick into your mouth to activate the whitening agent. Apparently it uses a patented Actilux formula that binds to your teeth enamel to create a barrier. The Actilux is activated through natural light, but its effectiveness is enhanced when you used the LED device.
This whitening kit doesn't use peroxide and is non-abrasive, so it's good for those with sensitive teeth.
iWhite instant teeth whitening (from $49.90)
The last type are those that use whitening gels in trays.
iWhite Instant's home kits are the most common in Singapore - I see them at almost every supermarket and personal care store. There are two types - the basic one ($54) and an intensive one for darker stains ($61.90).
Each box comes with 10 silicone trays of the whitening formula. Just pop it in your mouth and leave on for 20 minutes. If you use it for all your teeth, each application will use two trays (top and bottom). If you only care about whitening the top set, you can do the five-day treatment twice.
2. Teeth whitening at beauty salons - expensive, but still cheaper than the dentist
If you don't trust yourself with home kits, you can get the whitening done by a semi-pro.
|Salon in Singapore||Teeth whitening price||Promotion|
|Kosme Aesthetics||$200||$150 for first session|
|Simply Aesthetics||$380||$180 for first session|
|Mirage Aesthetic||$480||$138 for first session|
|Lush Aesthetics||$250||$150 for first session|
Most beauty salons use a method called LED whitening where a gel is applied on your teeth and activated with LED light. It's a one-time thing, done at the salon. Many salons boast that whitening lightens your teeth by up to eight shades, but judging from the online reviews… that seems an exaggeration.
Wellaholic (from $99)
The price varies depending on the salon, but they are usually around $200. The cheapest one I could find is from Wellaholic at $99. Not only do they have a very attractive price package, they also seem to have glowing reviews on Google.
You also have eight outlets that you can chose from to have your teeth whitening sessions and if all the claims they make online are accurate, it also means no hidden costs! It's worth the try, if you ask us.
Kosme Aesthetics, Simply Aesthetics & Mirage Aesthetics ($200)
These salons offer whitening services at $200 per session. There's a current promo that offers $50 off on the first session. All three do LED whitening with non-peroxide gels, which is great if you've sensitive teeth.
It's not stated what the peroxide substitute is, but from what I've read online, many sites suggest that sodium perborate is used instead. Although effective at lightening stains, it is not an actual bleaching agent (like peroxide).
Lush Aesthetics ($250)
Like those mentioned above, Lush Aesthetics also does LED whitening with a non-peroxide gel. It is more expensive than the others. However, they do have an ongoing promo that offers a $100 discount for the first session.
If you intend to commit to the teeth whitening sessions, they also do offer package deals that would make each session slightly cheaper.
3. Teeth whitening by dentists - the most expensive, and the most effective
The last option is the most expensive, but also the most "legit" and effective method of teeth whitening. If you can afford it, you should go to a certified dentist.
Like many home kits, dentists use hydrogen peroxide in their whitening gels. However, the difference is that dentists are allowed to use the bleaching agent in concentrations above 0.1 per cent. That's why it's way more effective.
Teeth whitening prices at dental clinics
|Dental clinic in Singapore||In-office teeth whitening||Take-home teeth whitening|
|NTUC Health Denticare||$900||$500|
|Parkway Dental Practices||$950||$450|
|Q&M Dental Group||$1,070||$642|
|i.Dental||$1,155 (UP $1,200)||$642|
|Healthway Dental Group||$1,300||$600|
There are two types of teeth whitening treatments at the dentist - the in-office procedure, and the take-home kit.
In-office teeth whitening at the dentist (~$1,000)
For the former, you can expect to spend about $1,000. The prices quoted above exclude consultation fees, but includes everything else.
With the dentist, the main benefit is that you get a professional assessment of your suitability for the procedure before you do anything. This is important because the chemicals are stronger and could harm your teeth if not done right.
NTUC Health Denticare is known for being affordable, and offers this from $900. Bigger chains like Raffles Dental and Q&M are slightly more expensive, but still under $1,000.
In case you're wondering, only basic dental services are subsidised and can be done at polyclinics. So while you can get scale and polish your pearly whites for cheap, you can't get them whitened at a discount.
Take-home whitening kits from the dentist (from $400)
The next type is take-home kits prescribed by your dentist. Like prescription vs off-the-shelf medication, you can't compare these with those kits you buy at the drugstore.
These are stronger, and only sold at the discretion of your dentist, so you'll have to go in for a consultation too. Many times, the take-home kit is also used as a maintenance follow-up treatment for those who've done in-office whitening.
Interestingly, although Raffles Dental is slightly pricier for in-office whitening, their take-home kits are the cheapest.