How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Everyone wants a dazzling, sparkling smile especially when  looks can play such a large role in your professional and personal life today. The brighter and whiter your teeth, the better your smile and entire appearance will be. Whether you choose a “take-home” teeth whitening kit or a professional treatment with a cosmetic dentist, you should educate yourself about teeth whitening before choosing a procedure to undertake.

Why Do Teeth Become Discolored?

Everyone starts with sparkling white teeth because of the porcelain like covering substance called enamel on your teeth. Microscopic crystalline rods make up tooth enamel, which protects the tooth while chewing, from gnashing, trauma, and decay from sugar. Over time, the enamel gets worn out allowing the yellow dentin, the core material of the tooth, to show through. When we chew, enamel develops micro cracks while dentin remains intact. It is these cracks, which later fill up with stains and debris that causes the teeth to take on a dull appearance.

What Are the Types of Tooth Stain?

Extrinsic stains are those that appear on a tooth’s surface from exposure to tobacco, food, and dark colored beverages such as coffee. Superficial extrinsic stains can be removed with brushing and cleaning while many extrinsic stains canrequire extensive treatments like bleaching.

Intrinsic stains are those that form on the interior of the tooth. They mostly occur from aging, trauma, exposure to mineral during tooth formation, and too much fluoride ingestion. Intrinsic stains were once considered too stubborn to be removed, but with modern technology can now be addressed.

General factors that can cause your teeth to stain are your eating habits, smoking, drug and chemical use, grinding, trauma, and the starting color of your teeth.

Options to Whiten Your Teeth

There are three options for teeth whitening: Peroxide Gel Application, Lower Concentration Peroxide Gel, and OVer-the_counter Whitening kits. The direct application of peroxide gel to your teeth for timeframes of 15-20 minutes to one hour have the quickest effect on the appearance of your teeth. This application is normally done by a cosmetic dentist and may require several sittings or appointments for people with significant staining of their teeth. The next option is a take-home kit that your cosmetic dentist provides. The take-home kit has a lower concentration of peroxide and you have a custom-fitted mouthguard that the peroxide is poured into for use in the home. The downside of this type of treatment is that it puts the onus on the patient to remember to administer the whitening treatment. The final method is the over-the-counter teeth whitening kit. They have a much lower level of perioxide and require more frequent wear than the variant you would get from your cosmetic dentist. The mouthpiece for these kits is also not custom-fitted which can result in un-even cleaning or whitening of your teeth.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

Sensitivity of the teeth and gums is the primary drawback to using a teeth whitening method or procedure. Many times, patients will experience gum or tooth discomfort if their overall dental health is poor or the concentration of peroxide is too great. If you are using an over-the-counter bleaching agent and start experiencing discomfort while using the treatment, you should stop and seek advice from your dentist on how to proceed. You will also see if you have any dental crowns, implants, inlays, outlays, or porcelin veneers, that they are not affected by teeth whitening procedures. The discolored teeth around them will improve in color while the implants will not.

How Do You Keep Your Teeth White?

In order to maintain the bright, white color of your teeth after undergoing a teeth whitening procedure, then you need to work on improving your overall dental health. You should also try to avoid dark colored food and beverages as much as possible and increase your frequency of brushing throughout the day especially after drinking coffee or smoking.

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