How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

As we get older, it’s perfectly natural for our teeth to become stained and discolored. This happens most often because of the food we eat, beverages we drink, and habits we pick up over the years. 

Since many people become self-conscious about their smile when it isn’t pearly white, teeth whitening products are gaining in popularity. But not all of these over-the-counter whitening products are safe and effective.

With all the products out there on the market today, you have lots of teeth whitening options. The important thing is to learn the “how” behind whiteners so you can choose the most effective and safest plan of treatment.

The fact is that any whitening product you get over-the-counter has the potential to be damaging. They are made from chemicals that you’re going to put into your mouth. We’ve been taught from our childhood that this is never a good idea, and that still is true with OTC whitening kits and other products.

The safest way to whiten your teeth is to check with your dentist first. At Brent C. Lin, DDS, we use professional-grade products of the highest quality, so you get results fast and safely.

Dr. Lin will explain to you the advantages of your whitening options and work with you to decide which treatment is best for you. This is usually based on factors like the current health of your mouth and the reason for the discoloration in your teeth.

Before you schedule a visit with your dentist, here is everything you need to know about teeth whiteners and how they work.

The Lowdown on Whitening Treatments 

There are lots of different whitening products available today, from toothpaste to OTC kits. No matter what you use, they all work in a similar way.

Each product using a bleaching agent to whiten your teeth. How that agent gets to the enamel is the only major difference.

For example, toothpaste is applied directly to your teeth. Slowly, the bleaching agent gets into the enamel by opening the dentin and bleaching the teeth. These are usually gradual and the bleaching agent is low-strength. This is important because the bleaching agent is going to end up on your gums, and it can cause problems. 

With a whitening kit, the bleaching agent is applied via an applicator. This might be a strip that adheres to your teeth. Sometimes, it’s a tray that the bleaching agent is poured into and then placed over your teeth.

With both of these applicators, you apply the agent to your teeth and keep it on there for the instructed time. This is important to pay attention to. Leaving it on too long can cause damage to the gum and enamel. If it’s not left on long enough, it doesn’t have the chance to be effective.

Your product should always have an ADA-approved label on the front of it. This lets you know it follows the safety requirements established by the American Dental Association. 

How Does Teeth Bleaching Work?

Even though whitening products are found over the counter around the world, you should always be cautious about using them. At best, they can cause extra sensitivity that goes away after a few days. But at worst, they can damage your enamel permanently.

Whiteners work with a simple chemical process. The bleaching agent is applied to the enamel. This then expands the pores in the dentin of your teeth. While the pores are expanded, the whitener enters the dentin and adjusts the color of it to a lighter shade. The longer the agent soaks into the dentin, or the stronger the agent, the faster the teeth become whiter.

The process is simple. When the whitening agent is applied to the enamel, it expands the pores in the dentin of the teeth. During the time the pores are widened, the whitening agent is able to enter into the dentin, which is the layer of coloring. The agent soaks into the dentin and slowly adjusts the shade of the teeth, lightning it to that whiter goal.

But when the chemical is too strong or if it’s not used according to the instructions, you may have teeth whitening side effects. These can be painful and may include short-term adverse reactions like tooth and gum sensitivity for a few days or swollen and irritated gums. 

Long-term problems can also arise, though. If the protein in the dentin of your teeth becomes damaged because of the whitening agent, this can turn into a painful, permanent side effect. This happens when you whiten your teeth too often or the agent is too strong. But it can also occur if the product you used had poor-quality ingredients.

Professional Teeth Whitening

When it comes to our teeth, most of us would rather take care of them ahead of time than deal with unintended consequences later. This applies to how you whiten your teeth, too.

To find the best, most effective teeth whitening technique, talk to Dr. Lin. He can answer your questions, like, “Why are my teeth yellow?” and “How many treatments will I need to get them white again?”

In-office dentist teeth whitening treatments are a common procedure. You’ll make a normal, routine appointment and get back to your day quickly!

Because we use professional-grade whitening agents and products of the highest quality, you may even see a whiter smile after your first visit!

Professional dental whitening techniques are the safest way to brighten your smile. We use the best products and skilled steps to keep your teeth and gums safe. You don’t have to sit as long with the bleaching agent on your teeth because it’s stronger, so you have less chance of getting an adverse side effect.

As long as you follow the teeth whitening aftercare instructions, there isn’t much else for you to do when you let our skilled professionals handle the job. 

Ready to take your smile to the next level and make it brighter, the safe and healthy way? Call Dr. Lin’s office and make an appointment today to see if a professional tooth whitening treatment is right for you!