ValuedPatient - Healthcare Topics

How does teeth whitening work and will it work for me?

More and more people are turning to teeth whitening as a great way to improve their smile, enhance their appearance, look younger and gain confidence.  But how does it work, and can anyone get their teeth whitened?

How does teeth whitening work?

While your tooth enamel is very tough, your teeth also have pores which means that any coloured substance or food that you put into your mouth can be absorbed by those pores and cause staining that won’t go away unless removed.  Teeth whitening products contain either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which open up the pores of your teeth, absorbing into them and breaking down the molecular bonds that hold the stain’s together.  This causes the stains to break into smaller pieces, and then pushing them out through the pores and removing them.  Following treatment your teeth will naturally re-mineralise and rehydrate to recreate their protective layer and prevent damage.

Will whitening work on my teeth?

This will depend on what caused the stains and discolouration of your teeth and the results will differ depending on the person.  Generally yellow teeth will bleach well, while the discolouration caused by medications, too much fluoride in childhood and teeth with brownish or grey tones are usually more resistant to the effects whitening treatments.  Teeth whitening only works on your natural teeth and not on dental restoration materials such as veneers, bonding, crowns, implants or fillings.  If you have had any of these procedures, teeth whitening may not be a suitable option for you, depending on the extent of your dental restorations.

Your dentist will be able to advise you on whether your teeth are suitable to be whitened and what different teeth whitening options are available to you.