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What to Know About Teeth Whitening

Woman with beautiful white smileMost bleaching systems use a peroxide base to whiten the teeth. The two most common products are hydrogen and carbamide peroxide. Teeth can be discolored by either extrinsic or intrinsic stains. Extrinsic is external or on the tooth surface. An intrinsic stain is internal or inside the tooth.

Teeth whitening products decrease the amount of intrinsic stains. The intrinsic stains are caused by colored compounds inside the tooth. Teeth bleaching products soak into the tooth structure and oxidize these colored compounds, making the teeth appear whiter. Teeth whitening products are a safe and effective method to lighten your teeth. The bleaching process is easy for patients to do, has minimal side effects, and achieves good results. Teeth whitening products do not damage or weaken the structure of the teeth and have little effect on existing dental work. They will not change the shade of porcelain veneers, crowns, or tooth-colored fillings. The most common side effects are transient tooth sensitivity and mild gum irritation.

There are product factors and patient factors that can affect bleaching results. The product factors are peroxide concentration, contact time, and peroxide dose. The higher the concentration with more contact time on the teeth will generate better results. Bleaching products that use a barrier such as a tray or strip will increase the contact time with the teeth, yielding better results. In regard to peroxide dose, a lower dose is easier on the soft tissues and generally tolerated better by a patient.

The patient factors that can affect bleaching results are age, tooth color, and compliance. In general, younger patients tend to get slightly better results. We tend to see a better response when patients have darker or more yellowed teeth, and patient compliance cannot be overstated.

The product we currently use is Opalescence Go. Please call our office for more information.