How Exactly Does Teeth Whitening Work?

tooth whitening

There are plenty of options that you can choose from to whiten your teeth. Inexpensive whitening toothpastes, as well as other similar products that promise to help remove years’ worth of surface stains. And of course, dental treatments like in office chair side whitening techniques that are proven to have drastic results.

All whitening techniques work in either one of two ways:

1. Whitening procedures. These procedures change the natural color of your teeth, usually between three to seven shades whiter. Whether it’s done by your dentist or at home, all bleaching procedures rely on the active ingredients carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, in concentrations between 10-45%, that help remove surface and deeper stains.

There are, however, differences between each bleaching procedure, namely in terms of price:

  • Chairside whitening usually has instant results in an hour or less. In our office we use professional formula products designed specifically to keep your teeth their brightest. The whitening gel is chemically activated, so there is no need for the hot and uncomfortable light used in other whitening procedures. The activated gel enters the enamel and dentin, bleaching any colored substance while keeping the structure of the tooth unchanged. The best way to maintain your whiter teeth is to have custom whitening trays made in conjunction with in-office whitening.
  • If you prefer to whiten at home, we can take impressions of your teeth and make custom trays for you. We also send home whitening gel that you load into your custom trays. With as little as 30 minutes of wear per day, the whitening gel will remove stains in a very short period of time. When your teeth reach the desired brightness, only occasional treatment is needed to maintain your new smile. By following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. We recommend flossing, brushing twice daily with a whitening toothpaste, and touch-ups with your custom trays.
  • You can also purchase over-the-counter products for whitening teeth. This usually includes whitening gels, whitening strips, brush-on gels and toothpastes. These products may cost less however, they take weeks or months to whiten your teeth just a few shades.

2. Non-bleaching procedures. These procedures often rely on physical or chemical action, or both, to remove surface stains. Your toothpaste, for example, relies on mild abrasion to minimize the buildup of surface stains in between your dental visits. The use of whitening toothpastes can help remove even more surface stains. Even professional cleaning sessions by your dentist require the use of abrasion, as well as polishing, to remove all the external staining caused by your day-to-day routines.

Each one of us responds differently to whitening procedures. In most cases, in-office whitening combined with custom trays will provide the best, long term results. Serious cases of discoloration such as tetracycline stains may require crowns or porcelain veneers to achieve the desired results.

We offer a complimentary whitening consultation to discuss all the options available and find the best solution for you to achieve your brightest, whitest smile. Call Smiles of Midtown today at 713-523-6848 or visit our website at http://www.smilesofmidtown.com.