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How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

mountain divider Teeth whitening is a process of essentially bleaching the teeth with the use of a peroxide-based whitening agent. The active ingredient in the whitening agent is hydrogen peroxide. Sometimes carbamide peroxide is used, which turns into hydrogen peroxide when it comes into contact with the teeth.  Hydrogen peroxide increases the porosity of your teeth so it can penetrate through the outer enamel layer to remove intrinsic stains. It does this through oxidation – volatile oxygen molecules in the peroxide break down staining compounds. This allows your teeth to better reflect light again, creating a whiter appearance.

In-Office Whitening

mountain divider Performed in the dental chair, in-office whitening can lighten the shade of your teeth dramatically in a single one-hour session. Severe discoloration may sometimes require multiple sessions but your teeth can be lightened by up to 10 shades in one appointment. Whether you’re attending a wedding, have a professional opportunity coming up, or need to pose for photos, nothing beats the smile transformation of in-office whitening. We use a high concentration of peroxide to produce significant and instant results that cannot be obtained elsewhere.  The whitening gel is applied to your teeth, we will then expose your teeth to UV light to activate the whitening agent, and then it will be rinsed out 60 minutes later.

Take-Home Whitening

mountain divider An alternative to our in-office whitening is the option to come in for a short appointment where we take digital impressions of your teeth and send them to a dental lab. A custom whitening tray is then fabricated for you to wear.  You will receive these whitening trays, the whitening gel, and instructions. The gel is applied to the trays which you will wear over your teeth each day for about 2 weeks to achieve similar results. This contains a lower concentration of peroxide, so it is more suitable for patients with tooth sensitivity or those who don’t have an immediate event coming up.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

mountain divider Yes, teeth whitening is very safe when administered by a dental professional. There are only minor side effects associated with tooth whitening, mainly being tooth sensitivity. When you whiten your teeth with over-the-counter drugstore products, you are at higher risk for damage or irritation to your gums and misuse.

Why Does Teeth Whitening Cause Sensitivity?

mountain divider Tooth sensitivity is only temporary. The reason this happens is because of demineralization. Certain minerals are stripped from the tooth enamel through the whitening process which exposes dentinal tubules and causes hypersensitivity.  This will only last for about 48 hours until the teeth naturally remineralize. You can take anti-inflammatory pain medication and desensitizing gel before your whitening appointment and continue to brush your teeth with sensitive toothpaste.