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How Teeth Whitening Works: Everything You Need to Know

Do you wish your teeth were as white as the movie stars you see on TV? Teeth whitening is an effective, minimally invasive cosmetic treatment that rapidly lightens the shade of your enamel by up to 10 shades. 

While there are various methods of teeth whitening containing different concentrations of peroxide, we recommend that you have this performed by a qualified dentist who can take care of your teeth and knows how to use a safe concentration of bleaching agents.

How Do Whitening Treatments Work?

There are several different methods of whitening the teeth, ranging from professional to over-the-counter treatments. However, all whitening treatments operate under the same principle, which is to lighten the shade of the tooth enamel with the use of peroxide. 

Typically, whitening treatments contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, though in different concentrations depending on the treatment you are receiving. In either case, peroxide is the active bleaching agent that removes surface stains from the teeth by breaking down complex molecules. The concentration of peroxide is typically between 25-30% in in-office whitening treatments.

What Whitening Treatments Are Available?

There are over-the-counter whitening trays and then there are whitening treatments that are carried out with the guidance of your dentist. Professional dental whitening can be performed in-office for rapid and intense results or at home in the form of customized whitening trays for a gradual treatment that is performed from home over 2 weeks.

While over-the-counter whitening trays are the most affordable option, you should only use ADA-approved whitening treatments that have been tested for safety and efficiency. Using whitening treatments that are not ADA-approved means they can contain excessive amounts of peroxide that may harm your teeth. 

The advantage of professional whitening treatments is that you can be assured that the treatment contains a safe amount of peroxide and will be left on for an appropriate duration of time. In-office teeth whitening can lighten your enamel by up to 10 shades in a single session, which is ideal for special occasions. 

Take-home whitening kits utilize custom-fit whitening trays that are created from impressions of your teeth and you are given instructions on how to use them and how long to wear them. Treatment typically takes 2 weeks and is more gradual, but produces similar results to in-office whitening.

Benefits of Teeth Whitening

The biggest benefit of whitening treatments is the improvement in the appearance of your smile which contributes to an increased confidence boost. Whether you’re looking for an enhancement to your smile for a special event or photos or if you’re frustrated with tooth stains that have led to discoloration, whitening treatments are a much more affordable alternative to veneers. 

The results can also last for up to 3 years with proper oral care and maintenance. Whitening treatments may seem like they have a small effect on your life but having an attractive smile plays a big role in candidate selection for job interviews.

What Are the Side Effects of Teeth Whitening?

Whitening treatments are known to cause tooth sensitivity in some people, known as dentin hypersensitivity. This occurs when the bleaching agent opens dentin channels in the enamel which are connected to the tooth’s nerves. This causes hypersensitivity, especially when the tooth is exposed to hot and cold foods or drinks. 

This sensitivity response is temporary and will resolve when minerals in the enamel are replenished, which takes about 48 hours. In the meantime, desensitizing gel and toothpaste for sensitive teeth can offer some relief.

Teeth Whitening at EaDo Family Dental

Whether you’d like to have your teeth whitened in the dental chair or your own home, we can transform your smile with teeth whitening at EaDo Family Dental. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bianca Williams or Dr. John Ma and find out if whitening treatment is right for you.

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