How Teeth Whitening Works

How Teeth Whitening WorksYour smile is the one of the first things people notice about you, so it makes sense that you care for your teeth. You brush after every meal and before going to bed. You floss correctly, and you rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to eliminate the bacteria that cause plaque and bad breath. But over time, your teeth may have lost their natural whiteness from just the normal activities of eating and drinking. Your teeth may have taken on a yellow or dull brown color that detracts from the attractiveness of your smile. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with stained teeth, as a variety of products and services are available to eliminate discoloration and restore whiteness to your smile. But how do these products work? In this post, we’ll explain how teeth whiteners in general work and the different products available.

Your teeth consist of an inner layer, called dentin, and a hard, but porous outer layer called enamel. As you eat and drink, a thin film forms over your teeth that discolors them. This film can be partially removed through regular brushing and flossing. A whitening toothpaste can help as well. But over time, the stain-causing particles may work their way through the openings in the enamel layer and into the inner part of your tooth. At this point, brushing and flossing and even the cleaning by your dentist won’t be able to remove the stains. This situation is where teeth whitening products are used to remove the stains and lighten your teeth.

There are a variety of teeth whitening products available that differ in ingredients, but all products function by soaking through the pours in the enamel and bleaching the stained lower layer of the tooth. The active ingredient in any bleaching product, be it provided by your dentist or obtained over the counter, is either carbamide peroxide, or hydrogen peroxide. Both are potent bleaching agents that will eliminate discoloration and restore whiteness.

The bleaching agent (usually a gel) is applied to applicator strips and then placed on the teeth. The products used by your dentist are usually of a higher concentration of bleaching agent, and can result in noticeably whiter teeth in just one or two visits. This is possible as your dentist is trained in how to safely administer the procedure and will take steps to ensure your teeth and gums aren’t damaged in the process. Over the counter products use a far less powerful concentration of chemicals, but are safe to use without professional supervision. Because of this, several applications are required to achieve the desired result. Talk with your dentist about which approach is right for you. Community Dental Group offers teeth whitening as part of our complete array of dental services and can help you get the bright smile you’ve always wanted.