How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Teeth whitening is perhaps the most affordable cosmetic dental option for our Seattle patients to choose from. Effective and easy to maintain, professional whitening treatments can safely brighten the color of your teeth while erasing years of superficial stains that have built up.

Oxidation of Stain Particles

Most whitening products contain a concentrated blend of carbamide or hydrogen peroxide. When oxidation occurs, these compounds cause stain particles across the tooth to dissolve and break apart, lifting them away from the enamel and leaving a whiter color behind. Such peroxide blends are also effective in helping healthy tooth structure appear brighter.

Types of Teeth Whitening Available

In-office whitening treatments —

Same day whitening treatments take about an hour to complete. We apply the product directly to your teeth and use a light to trigger the oxidation process. After the gel is rinsed away, we repeat the process one or two more times, until full results are achieved.

Take-home customized kits —

An impression is made of your teeth, which is used to create a form fitting whitening tray. Apply the provided whitening gel into the reservoir of each tooth and wear the trays for an hour per day. You’ll start to see results after a few days, with full whiteness achieved between10-14 days.

Over the counter products —

Available online or at your local supermarket, these products come in the form of pens, strips, rinses, and trays. However, the ingredients inside of the products are generally weaker than what’s available from your dentist (think over the counter medication vs. a prescription from your doctor.) As such, they won’t work as well for moderate to severe staining and results will be weaker than something you get from your dentist.

Candidates for Teeth Whitening

Whitening is fine for any teen or adult with healthy teeth. However, existing dental work — such as porcelain veneers, crowns, or tooth colored bonding — won’t change color. Any visible restorations will remain the same shade as they were before. If you’re planning to have them updated, it’s best to do so after you’ve whitened, so that their shade can be matched to the new color of your teeth. For this reason, we frequently recommend whitening before undergoing other cosmetic treatments.

Is it Safe to Whiten Your teeth?

Is teeth whitening safe? If your teeth and gums are healthy, absolutely. The only issues that tend to be a problem are when there is active tooth decay, a leaky filling, or gum disease. Applying whitening products to these areas can cause severe sensitivity, irritation, or burns. That’s why we recommend having a brief screening (or a routine dental checkup) before starting any type of teeth whitening regimen.

Medical experts do advise that teeth whitening products be avoided if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. While no negative effects have been proven to result from such products, it’s often better to err on the side of caution.

Talk to a Kois Trained Dentist for Whitening Recommendations

Kois Center dentists are trained with the most up to date research and focus on the patients’ health first. Find one in your area – Alumni Look Up