How Does Teeth Whitening Work

How Does Teeth Whitening Work

There are several reasons why you might want to get your teeth whitened. Just as our hair and skin color vary, so do our teeth.  Very few people have bright-white teeth. It is common for teeth to become more discolored as we get older.

Tooth whitening is an effective way of lightening the natural color of your teeth without eroding any of the tooth surfaces.  It may not completely change the color, but it may lighten the existing shade.

In this article, Vita Dental Spring will help you understand how teeth whitening works and what to expect in your quest to achieving a brighter smile.

Tooth Whitening Overview

Each tooth is made up of a hard outer enamel layer which protects the teeth and an inner dentin layer. When you take drinks such as coffee, tea, red wine, and blackcurrant, over time, another layer gradually forms on top of the enamel layer. Your teeth can also be stained on the surface because of smoking tobacco and tartar. Other people may have staining under the surface of the enamel, which can be caused by certain medication or by tiny cracks in the teeth which absorb stains.

When someone says they tried a product and saw absolutely no shade change, it’s not that the whitening agent didn’t work. Most likely it’s the combination of a less satisfactory device to hold the whitening agent to the tooth combined with unrealistic expectations.

During your regular professional cleanings at Vita Dental Spring, the hygienist can clean away the stains through scraping and chemical treatments. Even consistently brushing your teeth with the abrasive toothpaste can knock out some of it off.   However, since the enamel is absorbent, which means staining agents can work their way down into the tooth; they cannot be brushed away easily. This is where true tooth whiteners come in.

The Tooth Whitening Process

Basically, the whiteners contain bleaching chemicals that get down under the tooth enamel and set off a chemical reaction that breaks apart the staining compounds. Most tooth whiteners use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide as the active whitening ingredient.

There are various ways of setting off this basic process. Some individuals may opt for over-the-counter whitening products due to the low cost and its availability to use immediately. However, it’s important to get your teeth professionally checked at Vita Dental Spring before using these products.

Dentists such as the ones at Vita Dental Spring administer in-office treatments or at-home treatments. Let’s have a look at each of these options.

In Office Treatment

This dentist-supervised tooth whitening procedure involves the controlled use of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide, which has been custom-made to meet the needs of a particular patient.  Before embarking on the tooth whitening treatment, most dentists will clean the teeth pumice, fill in any cavities, and check to ensure the patient’s gums are healthy. After cleaning the teeth, the dentist puts a protective barrier on the gums.

Most in-office systems like Vita Dental Spring use 15 to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide gels sometimes combined with a high-intensity light to accelerate the bleaching chemical reaction.  He/she will then place hydrogen peroxide paste on the teeth for several minutes, rinse it off, and usually reapplies it several times. The procedure can attain up to four or six shades of whitening after only one 40-minute treatment.

At Home Treatment

Bleaching at-home systems will often use 10 to 20 percent carbamide peroxide gels. The gel may also contain glycerin, sodium hydroxide, carbomer, water, and flavoring agents. Other gels may contain more than 10 percent carbamide peroxide and will also include sodium fluoride to help reduce sensitivity and strengthen teeth.

To begin with, the dentist takes impressions of your mouth, and then sends them to the lab to prepare soft, custom mouth trays. To administer the treatment, place a thin ribbon of the gel into the tray and wear it for two hours during the day, or at night. You should expect to see changes within two weeks. But in difficult cases, trays may have to be worn for up to six weeks.

A combination of at-home and in-office systems can achieve up to 12 shades of whitening in most patients. These procedures are considered safe and effective when monitored by your dentist at Vita Dental Spring.

If need be, the dentist can modify the procedure for those who are having difficulty obtaining optimal results. He/she can also help the patient explore other cosmetic dental options. Such alternatives include tooth colored fillings, porcelain or resin veneers, gum lifts and tooth shaping which can be used with or without tooth whitening.

With the help of the dentist at Vita Dental Spring, the patient’s cosmetic dental goals may be more easily attained.

The Cost

Teeth whitening especially in-office whitening systems can cost between $600-$1,000 and sometimes more if there are other additional procedures. This shouldn’t be a problem because Vita Dental Springs have affordable payment plans; they accept credit cards from major companies and loans from major banks. So you can still have your teeth whitened by a professional without worrying about payments.