There are many ways to whiten teeth. Depending on the teeth stains that you have, dental whitening treatments differ from one another. It ranges from the whitening toothpastes in stores, over-the-counter bleaching kits, to the more expensive professional whitening treatments by dentists. Each one works differently
Teeth stains are caused by food, smoking, coffee or tea. This pellicle film, which usually leaves a stain on your tooth enamel, can be removed by whitening toothpastes that polish the surface of the teeth. A dentist can also scrape away the film through dental cleanings. However, because the pellicle film stays on the tooth surface for years, it eventually goes into the tooth enamel. Because enamel is porous, stains can actually seep into the tooth. While the deeper tooth stains are harmless, it causes a yellow or darker stain on the teeth, making them look dirty.
How does teeth whitening work? Tooth whiteners get into the tooth enamel to oxidize the stains, breaking them apart. Most whitening agents use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. It breaks down the stains on the teeth, and also actively whitens the porous enamel. There are many kinds of whitening treatments, such as the dentist-supervised treatments. They may have treatments in the dentist’s office, or opt to have them at home.
Before beginning any whitening treatment, dentists usually clean the teeth first and fill any cavities. Most systems use about 15 to 30 percent hydrogen peroxide, together with high intensity light to hasten the chemical reaction. The dentist then puts a barrier on the gums, and applies the hydrogen peroxide paste on the teeth. In a typical 40-minute treatment, teeth can be whitened to about 4 to 6 shades lighter. This can cost a few hundred dollars, and might even go up to a thousand dollars.
Systems designed to be used at home usually begins with the dentist making molds of your teeth to make custom mouth trays. A thin ribbon of carbamide peroxide gels are then applied on the tray, and the tray is worn for some few hours. In about a couple of weeks, the patient usually sees a difference. Home treatments are also usually cheaper than in-office whitening treatments.