Tooth Whitening – A General Guide

in Teeth-whitening

If you have always wanted to have a Hollywood smile, you are not alone! There are many others like you who would love to wear a smile that can attract a million hearts and grab attention. An estimated 10 million people in America send more than 1.7 billion dollars every year on tooth whitening. That’s indeed a huge figure, and it fascinates to learn that tooth whitening is so popular today.

Being one of the most requested cosmetic dentistry procedures, tooth whitening enables you to have a bright, white and perfect smile. A growing number of people are using different types of over-the-counter tooth whitening products or the in-office tooth whitening procedures for improving their smile. Well, it has now become an obvious choice because having whiter teeth is one of the primary needs of wearing the perfect attitude and flaunting your self-confidence.

Tooth Whitening Basics

To begin with, the basic idea of a tooth whitening procedure is to give you dazzling white set of teeth that you can flaunt. However, you must learn how to maintain the color of your teeth and also follow the course of action as recommended by your cosmetic dentist.

But before we proceed any further, we need to know why tooth whitening becomes necessary? Well, that’s because our teeth develops marks, spots, stains or discolorations over the years that can be very difficult to remove.  The structure of our teeth plays a crucial role here.

Our Tooth Structure

Each of our teeth is made of two layers: the inner layer called the dentin and the outer hard layer called the enamel.  As we eat different types of foods, chew foods, drink dark colored beverages and smoke, our teeth develops an additional layers on top of the natural enamel. It is basically the foreign substances that accumulate on the uppermost layer of the teeth to form a typical pellicle film over the tooth enamel.

It is the accumulation of this unwanted material on the upper layers of the teeth that results in the formation of stains and spots. A cosmetic dentist uses different types of chemicals and treatments to clean away these layers and to remove stains and marks. While regular brushing does help in cleaning these layers, but it does not work as a permanent solution; rather using abrasive tooth pastes can clean off these substances and also scrub off the stains and marks. There are whitening toothpastes available on the market today with additional peroxide ingredients contained in tem for enhanced results.

The basic problem here lies in the fact that the pellicle layer that develops over the years tend to get into the upper layer of the teeth. It is porous in nature, which is why it allows the staining agents to get into the tooth and magnify the stains or discolorations. It might even result in deeper stains that are usually not harmful, but are unattractive to look at.

In order to remove these dark stains and spots and to eliminate the signs of discoloration, the whiteners are used as effective means of having cleaner and whiter tooth color. Tooth whiteners are basically chemical agents that tend to get down into the enamel of the tooth to start off a chemical reaction, also known as oxidation reaction. It breaks apart the compounds that cause staining and helps you to retain the color of your tooth.

The two most commonly used whiteners are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. It is the same ingredients used for bleaching hair. When these chemicals are used for teeth whitening, particularly carbamide peroxide, it breaks down to form hydrogen peroxide and urea, in which hydrogen peroxide is the main active ingredient for whitening your teeth.

The Two Popular Tooth Whitening Options

There are two broad categories of tooth whitening that has bend vided into different sub classes. Almost all the whitening products have been categorized into two different groups that can be used as recommended by a cosmetic dentist.

Dentist-Supervised Tooth Whitening

Dentist-supervised toot whitening is a broad term that includes different tooth whitening treatments. It involves the limited use of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide for a tailored whitening treatment. Dentists can recommend an in-office treatment or an at-home whitening treatment in this category.

The procedure begins with the initial evaluation and check up of the overall oral health.  Most dentists will take the time to clean your teeth and check out the cavities and other defects that might require additional support. Also, it is important to ensure that your gums are in good health.

The dentist-supervised teeth whitening treatments are done using 15 percent to 35 percent of hydrogen peroxide gels. Based on the condition of your teeth and the amount of whiteness you require, you will be given the required percentage of whitening agent.  The dentist-supervised procedures are also accompanied by a high intensity light or laser treatment that expedites the chemical reaction to give you advanced whiteness.

There are certain conditions when a dentist recommends both in-office as well as at-home teeth whitening treatments for improved whiteness. The in-office extensive teeth whitening treatment is done to enhance the color of teeth immediately, while the at-home treatment is recommended for maintaining the whiteness for long.

This is undoubtedly one of the most advantageous teeth whitening treatments available till date. However it is very expensive and a combination of both the treatments can cost $300 to $1000 and above.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening

Apart from the dentist-supervised teeth whitening treatments, the over-the-counter whiteners have also been very popular. As these are relatively cheaper options and are readily available on the market stands, it makes it easier for people to use these products. Quite similar to the dentist-supervised teeth whitening treatments, the over-the-counter options also use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the primary ingredient for improved whiteness. However, you cannot expect miraculous results from this whitener. It is only when you use these whiteners after going through a dentist-supervised teeth whitening treatment, that you can get the best results.

You can have any over-the-counter at a cost as low as $10.  That makes it a more lucrative proposition.

Safety Issues

Tooth whitening is considered to be a safer procedure when it is used with proper care. It is important to be careful about the chemical being used so that it does not stick to the gums or surface of your mouth as it might cause bruising or sores. While the chances of tooth sensitivity are undeniable, yet people choose tooth whitening with a fluoride treatment for best results and no sensitivity.

When done with care and under the supervision of an expert cosmetic dentist, tooth whitening can yield safe and fantastic results.


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david morgan has 9 articles online

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Tooth Whitening – A General Guide

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Tooth Whitening – A General Guide

This article was published on 2011/10/27