Dentist in Issaquah, WA | How Does Whitening Work?

We all know that whitening works, but do you know how?  Extrinsic stains that appear on the surface of the teeth can generally be removed with daily bushing/flossing and regular cleanings at the dental office.  Intrinsic staining, on the other hand, is often responsible for the discoloration in teeth that people are hoping to lighten.  These stains live between the micro-cracks in your enamel and deep within the dentin (the layer of tooth under your enamel).  Whitening gels contain an active whitening agent such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide that penetrates your enamel to reach the discolored areas.  Oxygen molecules from the whitening agents react with the discolored molecules in your teeth and break the bonds that hold them together.  As the oxygen molecules spread, they whiten the entire tooth.

In general, most whitening techniques from in office to over-the-counter have been shown to be effective.  Results could often depend on the type of intrinsic stain, the age of the individual, the concentration of the active agent, and the treatment time and frequency.  If you are interested in a customized whitening plan or have any more questions about bleaching, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.