How Tooth Whitening Works

Teeth whitening has grown in popularity over the past few years and it is easy to see why. Not only is teeth whitening a crucial part of the grooming process for anyone that cares about their self-appearance, but it can also help you feel more confident and self-assured once the discoloration is eliminated. If you have always wanted to have your teeth whitened and are wondering if teeth whitening is the right choice for you, here is everything that you need to know about how teeth whitening works:

What exactly is teeth whitening?

Teeth whitening refers to a process through which stains and discoloration are removed from teeth to make them appear whiter. Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure that can enhance the appearance on one’s teeth considerably so it comes highly recommended for anyone with discolored or stained teeth.

Stained teeth usually occur due to years of neglect or lifestyle habits such as drinking and smoking, which are all activities that leave you with dull or yellowed teeth. You should know that teeth whitening is not a one-time activity- for teeth whitening to work successfully, it will have to be repeated severally for the teeth to maintain the bright and improved appearance.

How exactly does teeth whitening work?

There are many different techniques that are utilized when whitening teeth from whitening toothpaste and over the counter solutions to complex light activated procedures that are performed by professional dentists such as in Lifestyle Dental. Teeth whitening procedures that have been performed by professionals typically deliver long-lasting and dramatic results compared to at-home procedures. Essentially, teeth whitening procedures work in one of 2 ways:

  • Bleaching and
  • Non-bleaching procedures

Bleaching procedures

Bleaching procedures actually work by changing the color of the teeth from the inside or by removing stains found on the exterior surface of the teeth. Bleaching usually involves applying a hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide solution on the teeth that then works on changing one’s natural teeth color. The hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide solutions work by breaking stains on teeth into smaller more manageable bits.

This solution is usually strong and powerful can change the natural color of your teeth to make it 5 or 7 shades brighter than what it was originally. When done consistently, the solutions make stains less concentrated so that your teeth can start to appear brighter than before. Bleaching procedures usually take many forms with the most popular ones being:

In-Office Bleaching

In-Office Bleaching is sometimes commonly referred to as chairside bleaching and it typically one requires one visit to the dentist’s office to pull off successfully. In in-office bleaching, the dentist applies a protective gel to your gums before bleach is applied to the teeth to make them whiter and brighter.

At home bleaching

If you do not want to go to your dentist’s office to get your teeth whitened, your next best option is to whiten your teeth from home. If you opt to choose this route, your dentist will supply you with a custom-made tray that you can then use at home.

Your dentist should provide you with detailed instructions about how the bleaching solution should be placed and for what length of time, it should remain before being extracted. The at-home bleaching method works well for those that are comfortable whitening their own teeth at home but this method generally takes longer compared to in-office bleaching.

Over the counter bleaching

Aside from in-office and at-home bleaching, you can also purchase teeth whitening products in your local pharmacy or grocery store. These products can consist of bleaching toothpaste or strips. However, you should be aware that although over the counter bleaching products work, they are not as effective as what your dentist would use or give you.

Therefore, if you are considering using over the counter bleaching kits, strips or toothpaste, you should not expect to experience the same level of results as in-office bleaching. You also need to be very careful about the type of products that you purchase over the counter as many products available may not have gone through proper testing and approval.

Before you go ahead and use any over the counter teeth whitening product be sure to talk to your dentist first so that you can determine whether the product is safe and effective for whitening your teeth.

Non-bleaching procedures

Unlike bleaching procedures, non-bleaching procedures do not use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide solutions. Non-bleaching procedures such as whitening toothpaste work by removing stains from the surface of the teeth. Whitening toothpaste is typically loaded with chemical or polishing agents that are then responsible for eliminating stains.

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