When your teeth are dull looking, stained or dingy and you decide to get them brighter looking, should you choose whitening or bleaching to get the job done? On the one hand, both processes will make your teeth look brighter; however, there is a difference between the two.
The whitening process restores your teeth to their natural color. Stains and dinginess are removed and though your teeth will look much better than before the process, their natural color will remain the same. The bleaching process will whiten your teeth beyond the natural color.
Most people want their teeth to look brighter and whiter and use the terms whitening and bleaching interchangeably although there is a difference. Understanding the difference can help you choose the correct procedure for your teeth.
Deciding on the Right Procedure
Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure in the world. Having your teeth whitened can subtract years from your appearance, making you look younger, and it can boost your self-confidence. Whiter teeth also help you look healthier. So how do you decide if you want your teeth whitened or bleached?
Products that whiten your teeth beyond their natural color are, according to the FDA, “bleaching” and often have ingredients such as hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. These bleaching agents release oxygen molecules within the tooth enamel to break down the pigmentation that causes the tooth to be stained. The molecules enter micro-fractures within the enamel to do their work.
Some of these products work quickly with the assistance of a high-intensity light source to stimulate the release of the oxygen molecules. The Zoom! whitening process is an example of this type of procedure. Zoom whitening uses a laser to get the process going.
Other procedures take a few hours to get the desired results. The longer acting products are used for custom take-home whitening treatments. The bleaching treatments provided by your dentists will give you optimal amounts of bleaching material for the teeth that are to be whitened.
Whitening your teeth restores the natural color of your teeth. Stains are removed from the surface. Below the enamel of your teeth is another layer called the dentin. This is the part of the tooth that determines tooth color. Whitening does not reach this layer of the tooth structure.
Things to Keep in Mind
Professional whitening at the dental office will provide the highest quality whitening safely and achieve the results you want. Your teeth will be whiter faster in the dental office than if you choose an over-the-counter whitening kit.
Bleaching agents can leave your teeth sensitive to cold. Tooth sensitivity is usually short term and may last for a few days.
Whitening your teeth, whether or not you use bleaching agents, will not change the color of existing fillings or crowns. Talk with your dentist about work that needs to be done if you are planning on having your teeth whitened. Also keep in mind that the procedure does not work on all your teeth.
At Restore Dental, we offer the best in cosmetic dentistry and we can restore your smile to its brightest. Give us a call to schedule your appointment today.