How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Team Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening

Professional teeth whitening uses a form of peroxide to break up stains on the teeth to reveal a brighter, whiter smile. The process for teeth whitening depends on the type of treatment you select. Both in-office teeth whitening, performed by your dentist, or take-home teeth whitening kits will lighten your teeth. Read on to learn more about how teeth whitening works, and why it may be the perfect way to upgrade your smile. 

In-Office Teeth Whitening: How it Works

If you opt to have your teeth whitened at your dentist’s office you’ll benefit from immediate results. When you arrive for your appointment, the dental team will first protect your gums and lips from the whitening agent, with a gel or rubber shield. Then a whitening agent of carbamide-peroxide will be applied to your teeth.  A special light will be directed onto your teeth to boost the whitening power of the bleaching agent. You’ll repeat this cycle several times.  Within about one hour, your treatment will be complete, revealing a brighter, whiter smile.

Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits from Your Dentist: How They Work

The take-home teeth whitening kits you can get from your dentist are much more effective than over-the-counter whitening strips or toothpaste. They are dental-grade products which contain a stronger whitening agent compared to store-bought products. You will have impressions of your teeth taken that will be used to make custom trays for you. At home, at your convenience, you’ll apply the whitening gel to the tray and wear it per your dentist’s instructions. 

Your dentist may also carry pre-made and pre-filled whitening trays that you can purchase to whiten your teeth at home. The downside of take-home kits is that they can take weeks to achieve the full effect. You may need to wear the trays nightly for several weeks. 

Who is a Good Candidate for Teeth Whitening?

To be eligible for teeth whitening, your dentist will need to confirm that your teeth are healthy and that you are free of gum disease. Unfortunately, if you have dental restorations such as crowns on visible teeth, you will not be a good candidate for teeth whitening. This is because the same non-porous material that makes crowns resistant to cavities makes them resistant to whitening.  However, patients who have dental crowns on the teeth that don’t show when you smile, such as the back molars, are often candidates for teeth whitening.

If your teeth are brown due to medication or gray due to tooth death, they will not whiten nearly as much as teeth that are stained yellow. 

If for any reason you’re not a good candidate for teeth whitening, or if after your teeth whitening treatment you are not satisfied with the outcome, it could be time to consider alternative cosmetic treatments.

Porcelain veneers are a great option for patients for whom teeth whitening is insufficient. As a bonus, veneers can also close small gaps, and ensure your teeth are evenly sized.  Dental veneers can last decades with excellent oral hygiene habits and regular dental exams and cleanings.

Book an Appointment for Teeth Whitening in West Milford, NJ

Dr. Jamrozek is a member of the American Academy of Facial Esthetics and specializes in cosmetic dentistry. To book an appointment for teeth whitening or to consult about other cosmetic dental treatments, call 973-728-3779 or send us a message.