There are few things more heart-warming than a genuine smile from someone you care about. Smiling has been proven to boost your mood and the moods of others around you, so why not do it more often? One of the most common reasons is stubborn stains that no amount of brushing seems to remove! Instead of brushing longer or harder and rubbing away enamel, you may want to consider a teeth whitening treatment.
But how does teeth whitening treatment work? How do you know that it’s going to be effective? Today, a dentist breaks it down on a scientific level.
The Anatomy of Teeth and How Stains Develop
Teeth are mainly made up of enamel, but this isn’t the only layer to take into consideration when talking about stains. Teeth also contain a layer known as dentin, which is a naturally-yellow layer that sits directly behind enamel. Stains typically get stuck inside these microstructures, therefore making them intrinsic stains. Unlike extrinsic stains, which only adhere to the outer surfaces of teeth, intrinsic stains exist inside teeth, which is why over-the-counter bleaching products cannot remove them on their own. However, if extrinsic stains stay on teeth long enough, it will eventually permeate through the cracks and crevices of teeth and reach the dentin, effectively staining teeth in the long-term.
Why Store-Bought Solutions Aren’t Effective
Over-the-counter products don’t have the same strength as professional-grade whitening products, nor the same devices to apply that whitening. For example, saliva often contaminates whitening products because store-bought products aren’t designed to seal bleaching gels as well as professional products. Even so, these products aren’t capable of reaching the stains deep inside enamel and dentin.
How Professional Teeth Whitening Removes Stubborn Stains
Peroxide gels used to whiten teeth contain water, oxygen and numerous bleaching ingredients in order to create hydrogen peroxide. This bleaching solution is designed to permeate through the outer layer of enamel and begin breaking down stains inside the inner structures of enamel and dentin.
Additionally, professional bleaching gels are designed to last for longer periods of time, whereas store-bought solutions only last for 20 to 30 minutes at a time before becoming ineffective. These solutions also don’t seal the bleaching gel away from saliva because they don’t come with custom-made trays. Custom trays ensure that your whitening is as even and thorough as possible.
Keeping Your Smile White at Home
While professional bleaching can give you a substantially whiter smile in very little time, your smile is going to need regular touch-ups to maintain its white appearance. When you’re taking your trays and bleaching gel home, make sure to use the rest of your remaining gel after your initial whitening. Once you finish your whitening, you only need to use touch-up whitening gel once a month.
Of course, it’s also important to take note of your diet and oral care habits. Avoid consuming large quantities of staining substances, including pasta sauce, wine or coffee. If you do, rinse your mouth out with water or use a straw to direct beverages away from your teeth. Brush after having meals, but wait 30 minutes if the food you ate was particularly acidic. This will prevent you from accidentally removing enamel in the process.
Ready to get started whitening? Schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to learn more about the process!
About the Author
Dr. Frank A. Michitti offers KoR Whitening to help individuals remove stubborn stains that store-bought products simply can’t solve. He’s fully qualified to perform this and other cosmetic treatments that help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of having. To learn more about his practice, you can contact him through his website.