Over the years, many methods of whitening teeth have developed from whitening toothpastes, mouth rinses and other products to expensive light-activated whitening techniques. All whitening procedures work in one of two ways: bleaching or non-bleaching procedures.
Procedures that use bleach change one’s natural tooth color anywhere from five to seven shades. Bleaches contain an active ingredient, either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Both of these help remove surface and deep stains. Peroxide compounds have the ability to whiten teeth through the oxidation process. Perioxide can penetrate the inner aspect of enamel within a few minutes after application. Within the tooth, complex organic molecules reflect specific wavelengths which are responsible for the color of one’s teeth.
Peroxide compounds release free radicals which oxidizes the color-producing compounds found within enamels matrix. When these color-producing compounds are oxidized, the molecules reflect less light and become colorless which eliminates discoloration producing whiter teeth.
These procedures work by physical or chemical action to help remove surface stain. All toothpastes rely on a mild abrasive to scrub away surface stains, but they do not penetrate the enamel and lighten teeth.
At Home vs Professional Whitening
Over-the-counter whitening procedures that can be bought in the store only have up to and never exceed 10% hydrogen peroxide. Professional procedures have between 30 and 40 % hydrogen peroxide and are much more effective.
Why does whitening never work for me?
Depending on the type of stain a person has makes whitening more or less effective. There are two types of stain-extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains occur on the surface of the teeth and intrinsic stains are found inside the teeth. Examples of extrinsic stains would be caused by tea, coffee or wine and an example of an intrinsic stain may be the darkening of a tooth after a root canal or the darkening of a tooth as part of the natural aging process. The easiest type of stain to remove is yellow stain. If your teeth are yellow, there is a good chance that whitening will be very effective and make a noticeable difference. However, if your teeth are more of a dark brown or gray color, whitening does not always work for these stains.
Remember that everybody responds differently to whitening treatments and while some people achieve great results from at home or professional treatment, others may require porcelain veneers or bonding to reach the smile they’ve always wanted.
We will gladly talk to you about all the teeth whitening options available to you at Rochester Dental Clinic. You can even refer our frequently asked questions section to know more about teeth whitening.