What is tooth whitening?

Tooth Whitening is a broad term for services that generally lighten the color of teeth. This can be accomplished by incorporating an abrasive in toothpaste to remove stain (thus making a "whitening" claim). More intrinsically, by the use of various forms of hydrogen peroxide in liquids, trays or gels applied to teeth in professional, in-office dental services, or various over-the-counter products available directly to the consumer.
Tooth whitening is a dental procedure which can lighten the shade of the tooth. It works by removing the pigment from the enamel of the tooth, and it whitens from the inside out of the tooth. It is used to treat discolored teeth. Teeth that are stained from foods or smoking are treated by a dental cleaning.
Tooth whitening is a process of removing discolorations from the tooth. It has become synonymous with "bleaching". Enamel is a porous and translucent material. It absorbs stain and allows the underlying, darker dentin to show through to various degrees. As the enamel thins out, the underlying tooth shows through. That's why if you look at natural teeth, they look darker towards the gum line. That's because the enamel is the thinnest there. The thicker the enamel, the whiter it usually appears. As enamel soaks up stain, it becomes discolored. Whitening procedures utilize a peroxide system that bubbles out the stains. The process uses "PEROXIDE", an oxidizing agent and as such should be used judiciously. Whitening does affect the enamel for a period of time. After whitening, it takes about 2 weeks for the enamel to recover. So, the worst thing one can do is use such whitening agents without giving the tooth a chance to re-mineralize and recover.

Whitening is a complex issue. Consult an expert.
Stephen Handisides
Health Education
Tooth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures. Quick and easy to perform, it can totally transform your smile and make you look years younger. Professional teeth whitening can not only remove the surface stains that make your teeth look yellow, but can penetrate the enamel to bleach deep-set stains that over-the-counter systems can’t touch. A dentist will be able to tailor your treatment to get the result you want, whether you are looking for a subtle or more noticeable outcome. Although there are lots of over-the-counter whitening products, you are best advised to go to a dentist, as anything that is sold on the high street is likely to have active ingredients in such low quantities that it is won’t have a very noticeable effect. There may also be some reasons that you are not suitable for teeth whitening treatment, which only a dentist will be able to ascertain.

Tooth whitening is one of the most popular dental procedures because in some cases it can dramatically improve the attractiveness of your smile. The process of whitening teeth improves the color and tone of the teeth, and can decrease or remove stains caused by eating, drinking coffee, or smoking. Teeth cannot get perfectly white and remember teeth do tend to darken with age. The majority of dentists offer tooth whitening techniques, which come in different price ranges.

Tooth whitening is a process that makes discolored teeth whiter. There are several ways to whiten your smile. You should discuss your tooth whitening options with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be most effective for you.

Remember when selecting a whitener or any dental product, be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance -- your assurance that they have met ADA standards of safety and effectiveness.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.