Many of your favourite foods, such as chocolate, red wine, and coffee, as well as lifestyle factors like smoking, may be staining your teeth. Without proper oral hygiene to remove staining pigments, your teeth can quickly turn from pearly white to an unappealing yellow or grey shade.
Though discoloured teeth have little impact on your overall oral health, the unattractive hue can make you feel self-conscious in work and social situations, adversely affecting your self-esteem.
Professional teeth whitening treatments are some of the most requested cosmetic dental treatments in Australia because they can brighten your teeth by several shades, giving you a smile you are proud to share. To understand whether teeth whitening is right for you, it is important to learn “how does teeth whitening work”.
Tooth Structure and Discolouration
Your teeth are made up of layers; the central pulp chamber contains the nerves, blood vessels and nutrients, the dentin layer gives the tooth its structure, and the outer enamel layer protects the tooth from damage.
Enamel is primarily made from hydroxyapatite crystals, which form a dense protective matrix.
However, this matrix also means that the enamel is porous and can absorb substances like food pigments.
When you eat and drink, a film forms over your enamel, called the pellicle layer, which catches the pigments from the food. If the pellicle layer is not removed periodically with regular brushing, the enamel is exposed for a prolonged period to the pigments, allowing them to soak in and alter the way that the light is reflected off your teeth, causing you to perceive your tooth colour as yellow, brown, or grey.
Once the pigments have been absorbed into your enamel, the only way to lighten your teeth is with professional teeth whitening.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening treatments work by causing a reaction between the staining compounds and the active ingredients in the whitening gel. Most teeth whitening gels contain either carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. These active bleaching agents penetrate the tooth enamel layer; then, they are activated using UV light, causing an oxidation reaction. The oxygen molecules break down and disperse the pigment molecules, visibly brightening your smile.
At Gordon Family Dental, we offer in-chair professional teeth whitening and at-home whitening treatments. Before your in-chair whitening treatment, your dentist thoroughly cleans your teeth to remove plaque and tartar. Then, they apply a protective barrier to the gums before painting the bleaching gel directly on your teeth for targeted whitening. The bleaching gel is left for approximately 15 minutes before it is rinsed off. The process can be repeated up to two more times to achieve your desired shade.
Our at-home whitening treatments include custom trays and precise doses of teeth whitening gel. Simply add the gel to the holes in the tray, and place the tray over your teeth for the prescribed amount of time. Within 14 days, you’ll have noticeably brighter teeth.
Achieve a Brighter Smile at Gordon Family Dental
If you have discoloured teeth and want to brighten your smile, contact Gordon Family Dental on (02) 9159 6163 to schedule a consultation with our experienced dental team.
You can discuss whitening treatments with your dentist, who can give you more information on “how does teeth whitening work”, which shade best matches your skin tone and which teeth whitening treatment best meets your lifestyle needs.