Thursday, April 16, 2015

Teeth whitening, how does it work?

June 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Articles

The tooth is composed of an outer layer called enamel. The enamel covers the tooth and protects it from outside elements. The interior of the tooth, behind the enamel, is made of dentin. In the center of the tooth is the nerve, irrigated by tiny blood vessels. Dentin is not as hard or as bright as the enamel. Its color ranges from white to shades approaching yellow or green. The natural color of dentin is unchangeable, regardless of the whitening treatment used.  Generally, stains are found on the tooth enamel.

Enamel is composed of hard minerals in the form of rod-shaped crystalline threads. These rods are very tight but microscopic gaps between them; small slits through which foreign agents can slip in.  The density of the rod varies from one individual to another, which is why all enamels don’t have the same resistance and impermeability.

Because of daily use the gaps between the enamel rods eventually fill with rubble and then stains occur. Proper brushing helps remove most of the rubble but as it is difficult to erase all the stains. Everything we eat leaves a trace in our mouth, especially if food or drinks are highly colored. Over the years, even if you brush your teeth regularly, some food rubble will accumulate and leave traces in the form of stains, plaque and tartar. Sometimes stains and rubble will find their way to the dentin of the tooth, especially if there are cracks in the enamel due to trauma, accident or aging.

The good news is that if the rubble can break through the enamel of our teeth, so can the whitening products. The teeth whitening products, compounds of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, actually reach to the smallest gaps in the enamel of the tooth to go remove stains and rubble by oxidation. After a few days of treatment, whitening products manage to eliminate years of accumulation and will restore the teeth to their original color. Once that maximum natural whiteness is achieved, it is useless to continue the whitening treatment.

Carbamide peroxide is considered milder than the hydrogen peroxide so peoples with sensitive teeth should favor a teeth whitening product containing this ingredient to avoid inconveniences. The treatment will be a little longer, but more comfortable.

Whitening the teeth can take longer if the stains have reached the dentin behind the enamel.  It could happen during a whitening treatment that a professional is needed to get rid of the most stubborn stains. Once the optimal level of whiteness is achieved simple precautions such as using whitening toothpaste or touch ups with a whitening gel once or twice a year should be enough to keep a beautiful smile! Teeth whitening; no witchcraft in it!

Comments are closed.