Teeth whitening is one of the most commonly requested cosmetic dental treatments in Australia. However, many people are still concerned about the ingredients used in whitening treatments and whether they are safe.
If you’ve ever wondered “how does teeth whitening work”, understanding the process can help you make an informed decision about your dental health.
What is Tooth Discolouration?
Your teeth are made up of several layers. The outer layer is a porous substance called enamel, consisting of a matrix of hexagonal hydroxyapatite crystals. This tough coating protects your teeth and gives them their pearly white shine. However, when you eat and drink, another layer forms on your teeth, known as the pellicle layer. Pigments from your food get caught in this layer and can only be removed with regular brushing and flossing.
Unfortunately, the pellicle layer can remain on your teeth for years, allowing the pigments to absorb into the porous enamel, giving your teeth an unattractive yellow or grey-ish tinge.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
For tooth stains that you can’t scrub away with your toothbrush or abrasive whitening toothpaste, professional teeth whitening treatments are the best option to regain a brighter smile. But how does teeth whitening work?
Teeth whitening products contain bleaching agents, usually carbamide or hydrogen peroxides. The bleach penetrates the tooth enamel, and a catalyst is added (often UV light) to activate the bleach. This causes an oxidation reaction between the pigment molecules and the bleaching agent. As a result, the oxygen breaks down and disperses the stains, giving you a visibly brighter smile.
Types of Teeth Whitening Treatments
At A2Z Dental, we offer two types of whitening treatments, depending on the level of discolouration, your timeframe, and your budget.
In-Chair Teeth Whitening
During an in-chair treatment at A2Z Dental, your dentist professionally cleans your teeth to remove any plaque or tartar buildup that could inhibit the bleach’s activity.
They then apply a protective barrier to your gum and paint the teeth whitening agent directly on your teeth. Your teeth are exposed to UV light for 15 minutes. Next, the bleach is removed, and the dentist checks the shade of your teeth. The process can be repeated twice more to achieve your desired brightness level.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
For minor to moderate staining, we also offer custom at-home teeth whitening treatments. The bleach concentration is lower than that used for our in-chair treatment, making it safe yet still effective.
At your consultation, we take impressions of your teeth that are used to create custom trays. You are also given precise doses of whitening gel in disposable syringes that you inject into the tooth-shaped cavities in the tray. You then place the tray over your teeth and leave for a short period during the day or overnight. Within 14 days, you’ll have a noticeably brighter smile.
Smile Brighter With Teeth Whitening at A2Z Dental
If you have noticed your teeth are discoloured, contact A2Z Dental at our Rockhampton: (07) 4243 6018 or Emerald: (07) 4243 6035 practices to book your appointment for professional teeth whitening. During your consultation, you can discuss which whitening treatments are suitable for your needs.