As time passes, things such as smoking, food, staining drinks, and lacking oral care can result in stains and discoloration on your teeth. One of the most common solutions to restore tooth color, in these cases, is a process called teeth whitening or bleaching.
Teeth whitening is one of the most effective ways to get rid of internal and external stains on your teeth. There are primarily two ways to whiten your teeth, namely:
- With a professional procedure conducted by your dentist
- With an at-home teeth whitening kit
A whitening procedure that a dentist near you carries out typically delivers quicker and more effective results than a home whitening kit. The reason many people opt for a home whitening kit, however, is because it is much more affordable than a professional whitening treatment.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth bleaching is one of the most common dental cosmetic procedures. This popularity is a result of its affordable and effectiveness. Teeth whitening also only poses minimal health risks and won’t damage your teeth if applied correctly.
Teeth discoloration can manifest in several ways. Teeth yellowing is the result of worn-down enamel that becomes more transparent, and starts to show the yellow color of dentin, which is the core structure of a tooth.
Debris can also accumulate in microcracks in a tooth’s enamel, which typically gives the tooth a darker appearance. Teeth whitening treatment aims to remove the stains and debris from your teeth. Treatment can also consist of bleaching to whiten yellowing or darkened teeth.
When your dentist whitens your teeth, the procedure typically involves the application of a peroxide gel. The gel will remain on your teeth for around twenty minutes at a time and can be applied for a total of one hour during a session.
If there are stubborn stains on your teeth, your dentist may either recommend a follow-up session or further treatment with a home whitening kit.
Home whitening kits can be just as effective as a professional treatment, but they typically take longer to deliver results. Home whitening kits also consist of peroxide gel that you apply to your teeth for a specific amount of time.
Kits with a lower peroxide percentage are generally less abrasive and can remain on a person’s teeth for longer than an hour. Using a home kit is easy. You just apply peroxide gel to your teeth by using bleaching trays that look like mouth guards.
Unlike professional dental whitening treatment that requires one or two sessions, you may have to use the home kits every day for as long as two weeks.
Potential Risks of Teeth Whitening
There are some minor risks associated with teeth whitening. These include tooth sensitivity and temporary gum irritation and inflammation. These risks typically don’t last for long, and they are often the result of insufficient gum protection during treatment or the use of high-concentration peroxide gel.
Also, keep in mind that whitening doesn’t work on fillings or other restorations. If your dental restorations affect your smile, consider replacing them.