How Does Professional Teeth Whitening Work?
Looking at the science behind a teeth whitening procedure.
If you are the type of patient who likes to know as much as possible about how various dental treatments work, then this blog is for you. If you don’t wish to know, for example, how a teeth whitening procedure works, then that is fine too .. it should still work!
The teeth whitening procedure is an interesting one to look at though as there may be some misunderstandings about it, based on relatively primitive animations that sometimes feature on TV advertisements for whitening toothpastes.
The tooth structure
If we look very closely, at a microscopic level, at the enamel on our teeth, we can see that it is not a solid material but is made up of very tightly packed crystal structures, sometimes known as ‘rods’. Although this layer is very hard and more or less non porous, it is still possible for staining materials to get into the enamel structure by entering between these rods. Because these stains are then deeply embedded within the enamel, it is impossible to remove them by surface cleaning alone, and a chemical reaction is necessary to get rid of them.
Teeth whitening chemicals
At the Confidental Clinic in Greenwich, the chemicals used in our teeth whitening procedure are safe and effective when used by an experienced cosmetic dentist. They are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide, the latter breaking down into hydrogen peroxide in your mouth.
The hydrogen peroxide works by entering the teeth, between the rods, and breaking down the staining through a process known as oxidation.
This an entirely different method to that used by many teeth whitening toothpastes which remove surface staining only, often through abrasion which can cause damage to the enamel. They are unable to remove the stains embedded deeper within the enamel.
Whilst it is true that teeth whitening kits bought from chemists etc also contain these chemicals, they do so in much lower quantities. This means that whilst they might make a little difference, the results will typically be less successful than if the whitening is performed by your Greenwich cosmetic dentists. It is also worth noting that the ‘one size fits all’ trays in these kits increases the risk of soft tissue damage caused by leakage. Our custom made trays make sure that this risk is minimised.
If you are considering having your teeth whitened, we would recommend that you arrange a consultation at the Confidental Clinic. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before treatment starts, including whether you are pregnant, in which case you shouldn’t have this procedure. Also, those with restorations such as dental crowns, need to be aware that a whitening procedure will not change their colour. We can discuss the best options with you before commencing the procedure to ensure that you get the best results possible.
To arrange your free consultation at our Greenwich dental practice please call us on 020 8858 1422.