The Science Behind Teeth Whitening: How It Really Works

It is of little surprise that you, like all people, want a bright smile and for that, you need white, shiny teeth. However, sadly for us, the teeth color of many people leaves a lot to be desired. Teeth whitening is a practice that helps to bridge that gap between your aspirations and the present reality. While considering teeth whitening, you have two options to choose from:

  • At-home DIY teeth whitening solutions
  • Dentist office-based teeth bleaching

Irrespective of the solution to choose, it will use some bleaching agent based on peroxide. DIY solutions contain hydrogen or carbamide peroxide concentrations of 3%-20%. The peroxide concentration is significantly higher for the teeth whitening solutions that dentists administer at their offices and range from 15%-43%.

The Essentials

In very general terms keeping a strong teeth whitening solution in contact with your teeth for an extended period will result in whiter teeth. As dental experts from Advance Whitening point out, the stronger the bleaching agents become and the longer you apply them, the whiter the teeth become. But for the sake of your dental health teeth, whitening solutions with higher concentrations of peroxide should be used for shorter periods. Suppose you keep this gel (the usual form of the solution) in touch with the teeth for a long time. In that case, it dehydrates the latter and makes them more sensitive, something you want to avoid.

Both the DIY and in-office teeth whitening solutions come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. It is recommended that you consult your dentist’s opinion before choosing even a particular kit from the DIY option open to you. The doctors specializing in cosmetic dentistry at know how important it is to do everything according to the instructions for a safe and successful teeth whitening procedure. Another thing to note is that bleaching has no whitening effect on composite bondings and porcelain crowns.

How Does It Work?

Whitening your teeth is relatively simple. The bleaching agent of the whitening product (usually carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) works to break down tooth stains into tiny pieces. As a result, the discoloration concentration decreases significantly, and you end up with whiter and brighter teeth.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

You have various options open to you if you seek to make your teeth whiter by yourself in the comfort of your home. The most popular of such options are as follows:

Gels And Strips: You can directly apply gels and strips to your teeth to make your teeth whiter. You can use a thin-strip or brush to apply it, and they usually need a daily application for one or two times for ten to fourteen days. They are tooth bleaching products that contain peroxide and whiten teeth through it. The resultant whitening will last about four months or, in some cases, more prolonged and will cost you $10-$55.

Tray-Based Systems: In this option, a tray filled with peroxide-based paste or gels cover your teeth like a mouthguard. They are allowed to remain in place for several hours daily for about a month. You can get hold of such a tray-based whitening system as an over-the-counter medical product. If you want this type of DIY teeth whitening, another option open to you is to have one with which your dentist custom fits you. It will cost you anywhere from $150-$600.

Toothpaste With Teeth Whitening Effects: By their mild abrasive nature, all toothpaste works to get teeth rid of stains. Toothpaste meant significantly to whiten teeth consist of additional chemicals and polishing agents that scrub away tooth stains. However, such toothpaste’s effectiveness is limited and can help you enhance teeth whiteness by about one shade. Its most significant advantage is that they are quite affordable. Certain toothpaste products do indeed consist of peroxide. Still, the latter’s effectiveness is greatly diminished because it is not insufficient tooth contact in terms of time to make any significant impact.

Let us now discuss the office-based teeth whitening proposition.

Whitening Your Teeth In-Office

For a swift solution to get your teeth white, then in-office teeth whitening sessions are what you need. Such teeth whitening is the type of teeth whitening that dental professionals carry out. The bleaching solutions that dentists will administer in such cases are typically stronger than DIY kits. Additionally, dental offices often use light or heat or both to speed things up and make the whitening more effective. In this, note that the latest DIY kits come equipped with lights, usually LED lights. 

One can get really dramatic results and whiten their teeth to 3-8 shades with several such in-office teeth whitening sessions. There are even techniques like the Zoom system, which lets dentists significantly whiten teeth in a single two-hour-long session. However, in-office teeth whitening solutions are on the expensive side, setting you anywhere between the $500 to $1000 range.

Before signing off, you must consult your dentist before using any teeth whitening solution to ensure maximum dental health and avoid tooth sensitivity issues. Further, not all types of discoloration will respond equally well to using a teeth whitening product. But for the larger majority of people suffering from yellow or, in some cases, brown teeth, you can indeed regain your fabulous smile. Keep on smiling! You can check out this dentist in Stockton for your dental care needs and to get started.

Written by George K.

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