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The Best Cosmetic Dentist In NYC Explains: How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Our teeth are a huge factor in boosting our confidence.

Damaged teeth have a negative impact on our confidence. As such, they can also have a negative impact on our daily lives.

Stained teeth are not different. Even if you have strong teeth, discolorations can make you lose confidence. It's a good thing, though, that the best cosmetic dentist NYC has to offer will be able to solve these problems.

With a teeth whitening process, you'll be able to smile with confidence again. Keep on reading to learn more about it and see if it fits you.

How You Get Stains on Your Teeth

First, let's see how stains settle on your teeth to understand how teeth whitening can take them out.

Each tooth has 3 main layers: the pulp, dentin, and enamel. The enamel is the outermost layer, which is in charge of protecting the tooth. This is also where the stain sits.

The intake of foreign material, however, forms another layer on the tooth's surface. A dentist can scrape away this layer called a pellicle film via a cleaning session. This film can sit on the teeth for too long, though, causing staining agents to get into the enamel.

Because enamel is porous, it can "absorb" the foreign material, forming a deep stain. Although a stain is harmless, it can be quite unattractive. This is what teeth whitening aims to solve.

Causes of Tooth Stains

Anything you put in your mouth has the potential to leave a mark on your teeth. This is why stains are almost unavoidable for some people, especially since food and drinks are some of the top causes.

In particular, coffee, tea, soy sauce, and red wine are some of the biggest stain-makers. As a general rule, anything that can stain your hands or clothes will also stain your teeth.

The tar and nicotine in tobacco are also huge offenders. Nicotine is colorless, but it becomes a staining agent once it comes in contact with oxygen.

Medications like antihistamines and medicines for high blood pressure are also a culprit. Age and trauma are factors, as well.

How Teeth Bleaching Works

Teeth whiteners get into the enamel and set off the oxidation process to break apart the stains. This then removes the stain, even when it has gone deep into the teeth.

There are 2 types of whitening: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic whitening works on the enamel, which is where coffee and tobacco stains are.

On the other hand, intrinsic teeth whitening lightens the inner, soft part of the teeth. This is where dentists use a bleaching gel that the tissue soaks up.

In this method, the enamel usually doesn't have a discoloration. It only reflects the color of the tissue inside, which might make it appear darker.

Bleaching systems either use carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The active whitening agent is the hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide, when applied, breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea.

Teeth Whitening Options

Whitening teeth is not only done at the dentist's office; there are also at-home solutions that might work better for your schedule and lifestyle. See how they differ below.

In-Office Bleaching

Bleaching in the dentist's office only takes 1 visit most of the times. You can do the procedure the same day you visit for a consultation.

A dentist whitening your teeth will clean the teeth first and then apply a protective barrier on the gums. He/she will then use a bleaching gel with 15% to 43% hydrogen peroxide, which is much higher than at-home systems.

The dentist usually applies this gel for several minutes at a time. He/she may couple it with a high-intensity light, which many claim to activate the ingredients and expedite the process. The dentist rinses it off and reapplies it for many more times in a single session. In the end, you walk out with teeth that are 4 to 6 shades whiter.

At-Home Bleaching Kits

At-home bleaching systems are available in your dentist's office and over-the-counter, but the former is more advisable.

At-home systems from your dentist involve creating a mold of your teeth, which the dentist uses to create a custom mouth tray. It comes with a bleaching gel, which usually has 3% to 20% carbamide or hydrogen peroxide.

To use it, you'll have to apply a small amount of the gel onto the mouth tray and then wear it. A single session may last from 10 minutes to 2 hours every day.

Still, you can ask your dentist about bleaching products you can buy from drugstores. If you're going this route, only select products that have an ADA Seal of Acceptance. They work the same way as a model from your dentist but read the instructions to be sure.

This method takes longer to achieve the same results from a single in-office session; it usually takes 1 to 2 weeks before you can see its whitening effects.

Will It Work for You?

As we've explained above, the discoloration on your teeth may be on the surface or deep within your teeth. You can't be too sure what type of stain you have, so it's not advisable to take matters into your own hands.

For example, bleaching may not work as well on brown teeth, while it won't work at all on teeth with gray tones. It also won't work on crowns, veneers, or fillings. Moreover, it won't be an effective solution to stains due to a trauma or medications.

With that said, it's important to ask the opinion of a professional, who will know which procedure will work for you. You might not even need whitening at all. Remember that teeth can have a natural yellow color because of the color of the dentin underneath the white enamel.

Find the Best Cosmetic Dentist NYC Has

The first step of the teeth whitening process begins with a consultation with a dentist. That way, you can be sure you're getting the right whitening treatment for you.

What are you waiting for? If you want the best cosmetic dentist NYC can offer, contact us and let's discuss how you can further brighten your smile.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.