Teeth Bleaching - How It Works

in Teeth
You know – When it comes to Cosmetic Dentistry - Teeth Bleaching is a hot topic these days – And there’s a lot of confusion out there as to what it is –

For instance – Did you know that according to the FDA, the term “bleaching” is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color.

This applies strictly to products that contain bleach – typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

The term “whitening,” on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth's surface color by removing dirt and debris.

So any product that cleans - like a toothpaste - is considered a whitener.

Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used – even when describing products that contain bleach.

There is a direct correlation between tooth color and age – Over the years, teeth darken as a result of wear and tear and stain accumulation.

Teenagers will likely experience immediate, dramatic results from whitening. In the twenties, as the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, teeth-whitening may require a little more effort.

By the forties, the yellow gives way to brown and more maintenance may be called for.

By the fifties, the teeth have absorbed a host of stubborn stains which can prove difficult to remove.

Starting color: We are all equipped with an inborn tooth color that ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey, and intensifies over time.

Yellow-brown is generally more responsive to bleaching than green-grey.

Translucency and thinness: These are also genetic traits that become more pronounced with age. While all teeth show some translucency, those that are opaque and thick have an advantage: they appear lighter in color, show more sparkle and are responsive to bleaching.

Teeth that are thinner and more transparent – Most notably the front teeth – have less of the pigment that is necessary for bleaching.

According to cosmetic dentists, transparency is the only condition that cannot be corrected by any form of teeth whitening.

The bleach preference for in-office whitening, where time is limited, is powerful and fast-acting hydrogen peroxide, in concentrations ranging from nine percent to as high as 40 percent.

By contrast, the bleach of preference for at-home teeth whitening is slower acting carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide.

Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide.

This means that a 15 percent solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a five percent solution of hydrogen peroxide.
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Teeth Bleaching - How It Works

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This article was published on 2011/02/17