The Science Behind Teeth Whitening

The Science Behind Teeth Whitening

A bright, white smile is often associated with confidence and good health.  dentists in las vegas But as we age, our teeth can become stained and discolored from a variety of factors, including food and drinks, smoking, and medications.

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure that can help to restore the natural color of your teeth. There are many different teeth whitening methods available, both over-the-counter and professional. But how do they work?

The Science of Teeth Whitening

Most teeth whiteners use one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. These chemicals work by breaking down the stain molecules in your teeth.

When carbamide peroxide is applied to your teeth, it breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea. The hydrogen peroxide is then absorbed into your teeth, where it reacts with the stain molecules. This reaction breaks the stain molecules into smaller pieces, which are then more easily removed from your teeth.

Hydrogen peroxide works in a similar way, but it is more potent than carbamide peroxide. This means that it can be more effective at whitening teeth, but it can also cause more side effects, such as tooth sensitivity.

Different Types of Teeth Whitening

There are many different types of teeth whitening available, including:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening: OTC teeth whitening products are available at most drugstores. They include toothpastes, gels, strips, and rinses. OTC teeth whiteners typically contain lower concentrations of carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide than professional teeth whitening products.
  • Professional teeth whitening: Professional teeth whitening is performed by a dentist or hygienist. There are two main types of professional teeth whitening: in-office teeth whitening and at-home teeth whitening.
    • In-office teeth whitening: In-office teeth whitening is the most effective type of teeth whitening. It is also the most expensive. During in-office teeth whitening, a dentist or hygienist will apply a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide to your teeth. The hydrogen peroxide will then be activated with a special light or laser. This process takes about an hour and can whiten your teeth by several shades.
    • At-home teeth whitening: At-home teeth whitening is less expensive than in-office teeth whitening, but it takes longer to see results. There are two main types of at-home teeth whitening: custom-fitted trays and whitening strips.
      • Custom-fitted trays: Your dentist will make custom-fitted trays for your teeth. You will then fill the trays with a whitening gel and wear them for a certain amount of time each day, typically for two weeks.
      • Whitening strips: Whitening strips are thin, flexible strips that are coated with a whitening gel. You apply the strips to your teeth and wear them for a certain amount of time each day, typically for 30 minutes.

How to Choose the Right Teeth Whitening Method

The best teeth whitening method for you will depend on your budget, your expectations, and your sensitivity to tooth whitening products.

If you are looking for the fastest and most effective teeth whitening results, then in-office teeth whitening is the best option for you. However, it is also the most expensive option.

If you are on a budget or you have sensitive teeth, then at-home teeth whitening may be a better option for you. However, it is important to note that at-home teeth whitening takes longer to see results than in-office teeth whitening.

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

All teeth whitening methods can cause side effects, but the most common side effect is tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is a temporary condition that causes your teeth to be more sensitive to hot, cold, and acidic foods and drinks.

Other side effects of teeth whitening may include:

  • Gum irritation
  • Temporary tooth discoloration
  • Increased risk of cavities

If you experience any side effects from teeth whitening, be sure to talk to your dentist.

Tips for Keeping Your Teeth White

Once you have whitened your teeth, there are a few things you can do to keep them white:

  • Brush and floss your teeth twice a day
  • Avoid foods and drinks that stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, and red wine
  • Rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking staining foods and drinks
  • See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings


Teeth whitening is a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of your smile. However, it is important to choose the right teeth whitening method for you and to be aware of the potential side effects.

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