Professional teeth whitening can be a very effective way of lightening the appearance of your teeth without removing the surface of your teeth in the process.
Very few people have naturally brilliantly white teeth as the color of a person’s teeth is influenced by many different factors. Foods and drinks such as teas and coffees may stain teeth, in addition to age yellowing the teeth over time. Professional teeth whitening is the most powerful treatment you can get to lighten your teeth as much as possible.
Bleaching vs. Whitening: What’s the Difference?
The term “whitening” on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth’s surface color by removing dirt and debris. So technically speaking, any product used to clean the teeth (like toothpaste) is considered a whitener. Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used — even when describing products that contain bleach.
The bleach preference for in-office whitening, where time is limited, is powerful and fast-acting hydrogen peroxide. When used in bleaching teeth, hydrogen peroxide concentrations range from approximately 9% to 40%.
By contrast, the bleach preference for at-home teeth whitening is slower-acting carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. This means that a 15% solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a 5% solution of hydrogen peroxide.
What Causes Tooth Staining?
A healthy white smile is on just about everybody’s wish list. There are many reasons why your teeth may darken. Some we can’t control, such as age or accidents that disrupt enamel development when we are young. Other reasons we have more influence over, such as smoking. If you are interested in whitening your teeth, your dentist will give you advice on how to best achieve your goals through treatment and lifestyle changes.
How White Can You Go?
Results are subjective, varying considerably from person to person. Many are immediately delighted with their outcome, while others may be disappointed. Before you embark on any whitening treatment, ask your dentist for a realistic idea of the results you are likely to achieve and how long it should take to achieve them.