Enjoying Better Dental Checkups

Teeth Whitening Applications And How They Work

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that lightens the color of the tooth enamel. It is often used to improve the appearance of teeth that have become dull or discolored over time.

Here is a bit of information about teeth-whitening applications and how they work.

Bleaching Agents

The most common way to whiten the teeth is by using a bleaching agent. Bleaching agents effectively remove dental staining from ingested items that are deeply colored, such as coffee, tea, tobacco, red wine, or berries. The pigments from the substances are absorbed by the pores of the teeth and accumulate over time.

To bleach your teeth, you can select an over-the-counter, do-it-yourself kit or schedule a whitening session at a dental office. Over-the-counter whitening kits, as well as professional dental bleaching applications, often contain a peroxide-based active ingredient. The peroxide works by breaking down stains on the surface of the tooth and removing them from the tooth's structure. Usually, multiple treatment sessions are needed to achieve the optimal level of dental whiteness.

It is typically best to have your teeth whitened professionally since the overuse of over-the-counter bleaching products can result in chronic dental sensitivity. Professional sessions are considered safer since the applications are applied by trained professionals. Additionally, precautions are taken to help minimize the chance of dental sensitivity and soft tissue irritation.

Also, the results from professional applications tend to be better. Many professional teeth bleaching products can be enhanced by exposure to bright light. The dentist can safely apply the light to the product as it rests on the teeth to improve your whitening results. Professional sessions often yield an improvement of at least one or two shades in tooth color per session.


Some dental discoloration remains unaffected by bleaching compounds. Darkened tooth coloration that is due to trauma to a tooth, a congenital defect, or a side effect from a medication, such as tetracycline, cannot be bleached from the teeth.

Nevertheless, people with permanent stains can improve the color of their teeth by covering the discoloration with veneers or dental crowns. Veneers and crowns can be selected in the whitest shades.

A veneer covers the front surface of a tooth, and a crown encircles the entire portion of the tooth that is exposed in the oral cavity. Both devices can transform the look of your smile.

To learn more ways to whiten your teeth, schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dental office, like Cottonwood Dental.