There is something about the magic of a perfect, pearly-white smile. It’s infectious and it’s desired, so much that Americans spend in the neighborhood of $1.7 billion dollars each year to attain it. Teeth whitening is now the most common of all cosmetic services offered by dentists and the over-the-counter teeth-whitening industry has grown incredibly over the past few years. So, how exactly does teeth whitening work?
The Basics Of Your Teeth
Your teeth contain a layer of dentin covered by a hard enamel outer layer that protects them. Every time you put something into your mouth, the foreign particles will form a film that will accumulate and cover the enamel outer layer. Brushing the teeth helps to remove this layer of film. Whitening toothpastes are very abrasive and help to clean teeth much like using an abrasive pad while washing dishes. Over the years, though, the foreign material entering your mouth can work its way into the enamel of teeth and leave stains. These stains are harmless, but many find them unattractive.
A visit, or several in some cases, to the dentist can help to remove these stains from teeth enamel. One method involves the use of dental trays. Patients will visit a dentist who will take a mold of the person’s mouth in order to create the trays that will do the cleaning. After the mold is completed, usually the purpose of the first visit, a patient returns for the actual treatment. Chemicals are applied to the trays which are then placed in the patient’s mouth for a certain period of time. The chemicals used are usually either hydrogen peroxide or some form of carbonate peroxide. These compounds get into the enamel and break down the stains thus removing them. Patients must go through a series of visits to achieve the best results.
As the name suggests, a laser device is used to help remove stains in this teeth whitening process. A chemical, a concentrated peroxide gel, is still used. The laser is then applied to the gel which causes a chemical reaction, oxidation, to occur. It is that chemical reaction that helps to remove stains and whiten teeth. Laser whitening achieves results much quicker than the use of dental trays. Patients can sometimes see dramatic results on just the first visit.
Everyone loves a great smile. It’s a great confidence booster and makes people feel good about themselves. As long as a beautiful smile is important, people will continue using cosmetic procedures to enhance the pearly whites.