The appearance of your teeth can significantly affect how other people view you and your facial expressions. That's why tooth whitening is becoming a popular option for people looking to enhance their smile. Tooth whitening is a non-invasive procedure that is aimed at improving the appearance of the teeth. This is achieved through removing dirt and debris from the surface.
Understanding how tooth whitening works can help you know what options you have in order to restore the glow that your teeth truly deserve.
What causes the need for whitening?
The top surface of the tooth is covered by a protective layer called enamel. It protects the teeth from the effects of chewing, acids, and gnashing. Enamel gets worn down over the years, and the underlying layer begins to become exposed. This layer (referred to as dentin) is yellow in color, and it is what causes our teeth to lose their natural white glow.
When enamel begins to get worn out, it shatters into millions of tiny cracks, which end up accumulating with dirt and debris. This leads to teeth losing their white appealing color.
Types of tooth discoloration
There are two main ways in which teeth become discolored.
These are the stains that appear on the surface of the teeth. They often occur due to foods, tobacco, and dark-colored beverages. These stains can be easily removed through regular brushing with the right type of dental products.
Intrinsic stains are more stubborn to deal with. They form on the inside of the teeth as a result of mineral accumulation, aging, and the excessive consumption of fluoride. Intrinsic stains often require more involving dental procedures that can penetrate to the underlying surface of the teeth and eliminate the stains.
Procedures for tooth whitening
If you're looking to restore the look of your smile, you have 3 main options available.
Whitening at the dental office
At a dentist's office, peroxide gel can be applied to the teeth in intervals of 15-20 minutes. The peroxide gel acts to bleach the teeth off the stains that have accumulated. This procedure whitens the teeth in the shortest time available.
There are kits available that contain peroxide gel in slightly lower concentrations. Patients can apply this gel for 1-hour periods everyday. These kits are effective at restoring the whiteness of your teeth in the long run.
Whitening strips are popular and easily accessible solutions for teeth whitening. They however take longer to achieve desired results because they contain the lowest concentration of the peroxide bleaching agent.
Contact a local dentist for more information.