Teeth Whitening

What Is Teeth Whitening?

A tooth is basically made of two parts: the root and the crown. In teeth whitening, the concern is focused on the crown, which is the part of the tooth that is exposed.

The crown is composed of three sections: pulp, dentin, and enamel. The pulp is the innermost section of the tooth. It contains the blood vessels, the lymph nodes, and the nerve cells. The dentin surrounds and protects the pulp. Formed by bone-like proteins, the dentin makes up the greatest part of the tooth. It also has a yellow color. The enamel is the outermost layer. This porcelain-like cover is mainly made up of a mineral called hydroxyapatite. This mineral is typically hard, but it is also susceptible to cracks, especially when a person gets older. Most teeth whitening products act on the enamel of the tooth.

Symptoms that Call for Teeth Whitening

The enamel is naturally whitish in color. Regularly brushing your teeth to clean your enamel can be considered a teeth-whitening process. However, some people will need more than regular brushing. To achieve a truly white appearance, teeth whitening may the only way to rejuvenate a smile.

Tooth discoloration is the primary symptom that should compel a person to find teeth whitening products. The discoloration can be superficial, in which dark-colored food and drinks are stuck in the little cracks of the enamel. If the teeth have been exposed to grinding or trauma, more cracks are created, and subsequently, there are more cracks in which foods and drinks can stain.

The discoloration can also be deeper than the enamel itself. That is, the discoloration has reached the dentin. This usually happens to people who smoke. The nicotine leaves a dark brown deposit that passes through the enamel and stains the dentin.

Teeth Whitening Treatment

A single visit to the dentist and a single prophylactic cleaning can significantly whiten the teeth. However, when the discoloration is severe, the dentist may offer whitening or bleaching. With whitening, the stubborn debris and dark-colored food pieces are removed from the cracks of the enamel.

Once these are removed, the cracks are left exposed. Fortunately, the person’s own saliva can help in re-mineralizing the enamel, filling up the cracks. However, if a person goes out to eat right after teeth whitening, the cracks will be filled up again with organic debris.

With bleaching, the dentist attempts to solve the deeper discoloration of the teeth. Bleaching agents, such as carbamide peroxide, are used. Bleaching may also make the teeth whiter than its natural color, especially when the dentist uses lasers to enhance the whitening power of the bleaching agent.

Teeth Whitening Results

Different kinds of teeth respond variably to teeth whitening and teeth bleaching agents. The grayish teeth will not bleach as well as the yellowish teeth. Teeth with thick enamel will be whiter than teeth with thin or transparent enamel. And finally, the teeth of younger people will respond better to bleach than the teeth of older people.