How Teeth Whitening Works

teeth whitening before and after

If you’re looking for a quick, effective, and affordable way to improve your smile, teeth whitening is the way to go. There are several methods you can try at home, like toothpaste, whitening strips, and whitening pens, but we wouldn’t necessarily call those “quick”. Professional teeth whitening, however, allows patients to brighten their smiles up to nine shades in about an hour.

In this blog, our dentist answers the question, “how does teeth whitening work,” but before we answer that, we’ll discuss what causes dental staining in the first place.

How Teeth Are Stained

Most people know that coffee, red wine, sodas, candy, and dark-colored fruits and vegetables stain teeth. What they don’t usually understand is how.

Our teeth are made up of two layers: the inner dentin and outer enamel. When teeth-staining agents are consumed, another layer of film covers the enamel on a person’s teeth. Some of this is removed when a person brushes and flosses, but most of the time it requires a professional cleaning to be eliminated.

After sitting on your teeth for years and years, this foreign layer sets into the pores of the enamel. These stains can’t be scraped away by dentists but require a bleaching chemical to remove them. While these stains aren’t harmful, most people find them unattractive. In those cases, people search for a whitening method that will work best for their smile.

Professional Teeth Whitening

There are two methods of professional teeth whitening: in-office and at-home.

In-office Teeth Whitening

Professionals teeth whitening is the safest, most effective bleaching option available. Your dentist will know exactly how much bleaching gel to apply to your teeth to give you the results your desire. He will also use protective measures to keep your gums and lips safe.

To begin the teeth whitening process, the dentist will assess your mouth to make sure the teeth and gums are healthy enough for treatment. Once you’ve been approved, he will gently clean and scrub your teeth. We compare this part to exfoliating your skin.

Next, the dentist applies hydrogen peroxide paste to the teeth for several minutes, rinses it off, and reapplies it as many times as necessary. This typically takes about forty minutes, and you walk out of the dentist’s office with a brand-new smile! 

In some cases, patients need to visit one or two more times to achieve the results they desire.

At-home Teeth Whitening

At-home professional teeth whitening offers nearly all the benefits of in-office whitening but at a more affordable price. This requires a dentist to take an impression of your smile and create a custom tray made. The dentist will provide you will the gel and teach you how to properly administer it. Typically, these trays need to be worn for two hours per day for one to two weeks.

Because this whitening treatment is professional grade, you’ll experience more dramatic results than over-the-counter whitening treatments. This is also considered to be dentists supervised, so you can trust that the gel is safe for your smile.

Over-the-counter Teeth Whitening

As stated earlier, there are several methods of over-the-counter teeth whitening. Before using these products, it’s a good idea to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined. Those with cavities and gum disease should receive treatment before focusing on whitening.

Over-the-counter whitening products are typically mixed with carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. However, the solution is not as concentrated as professional whitening treatments.

Whether you use whitening toothpaste, gel, trays, or pens, the idea is the same—the bleaching agent lifts the external stains from the enamel and infiltrates the pores of your teeth to change the color of the deeper blemishes.

Visit A Teeth Whitening Dentist Today

A dentist’s main priority is to ensure his patients have healthy smiles. Before you begin teeth whitening, have your teeth and gums examined. Once your smile is declared healthy, discuss with your dentists which teeth whitening system is best for your smile and budget.

To meet with our Plainfield, IL dentist, contact our office today at (815) 254-8550.

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