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What You Should Know About Teeth Whitening

Updated on August 14, 2013

Teeth Whitening

A Gleaming Smile
A Gleaming Smile
Dentists Compare Whiteness
Dentists Compare Whiteness | Source

Teeth Whitening: What is it Exactly?

We have all heard the phrase, ‘dazzling smile’, and probably believed it pertains to the happiness expressed in the smile. That may be true, but more often the phrase refers to the shine displayed by the ‘pearly-white teeth’ that ‘dazzled’ the beholder. Such teeth have caught the admiration of people for centuries, so that teeth cleaning and abrasive whitening had been practiced in times past, until modern toothpaste was invented.

Teeth Whitening actually enhances the self-esteem,, because clean white teeth are admired, or at least look infinitely better than stained, discolored, or yellowed teeth. Teeth whitening can also make the person look younger, as it is usually the young that have unblemished white teeth. Finally, you may simply want to remove the stains and discoloration from years of smoking, eating foods that stain; such as drinking coffee and wine, and so on.

How Teeth Whitening is Done

Essentially, most teeth whitening processes actually bleach the teeth with hydrogen peroxide, the same chemical used to bleach the hair, or carbamide peroxide, a mix of hydrogen peroxide and urea. Either of these substances is mixed into a carrier gel and the paste is rubbed onto the teeth, left on for a few minutes then rinsed off. The process depends on how strong the dentifrice is, and how good or discolored the patient’s teeth are.

The chemical goes into and through the tooth enamel to bleach away the discoloring substances within the tooth’s minute openings not reached by the scraping action of toothbrush and other abrasive agents, and in the dentin, the layer after the enamel. The tooth enamel is actually porous, being composed of hexagon-shaped hydroxyapatite crystals, so the chemical can seep between the crystal ‘rods’ to the dentin, to bleach the stains.

Teeth Whitening Options

There are two general options in whitening your teeth: first, the dentist-supervised process; and second, the do-it-yourself route.

The dentist option is naturally more expensive because you pay for the dentist’s services, but you get professional opinion and service, along with solutions to problems you might encounter along the way, like allergic reactions or severe discomfort during treatment.

In D I Y teeth whitening, you may spend much less, but you might also encounter problems or suffer adverse reactions.

Last Words

Whatever your reason for teeth whitening; bear in mind that there are caveats, benefits, disadvantages and risks involved, just like any other dental process. Teeth whitening is not appropriate, for instance, for nursing or pregnant mothers, people with over-sensitive teeth, those that have had root canal treatment, veneered o restored teeth, or teeth that are naturally colored differently. Therefore it is best to consult your dentist before undergoing any teeth whitening process, particularly if you intend to do it yourself.

Meantime, smile!

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