Monday, January 30, 2012

The Difference Between Teeth Whitening & Teeth Bleaching by Meredi Wagner-Hoehn

It’s happened. That dreadful day when, as you’re brushing your teeth or yawning in the bathroom, you notice: those pearly whites aren’t so pearly anymore. They are stained. The easy step: deciding you want them white again. The not-as-easy step: deciding whether teeth whitening or teeth bleaching is the best answer.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening and teeth bleaching are, in fact, different processes. Teeth whitening is part of the process we know as cleaning your teeth. And yes, I know, you already clean your teeth yourself every day, and you go to your dentist every six months for your regular dental cleaning. And that certainly helps reduce the staining. But the teeth whitening aspect actually targets specific areas of debris and staining.

As you age (and eat, and smoke, and drink), your teeth weaken. The enamel – the outside layer of your teeth which emits that alabaster shine – slowly develops minuscule splinters. These cracks begin collecting houseguests immediately: Auntie Waste comes to stay, and Cousin Stain takes over the basement. Teeth whitening rescinds their invitations, cleansing the cracks of the unnecessary refuse.

Teeth whitening tools generally include silica or calcium carbonate in their formula, as they help to remove the debris. Since teeth whitening is essentially taking back years of wear and tear on your teeth, it takes time to effectively lighten your smile.

Teeth Bleaching

While teeth whitening simply returns your smile to its original, organic brightness, teeth bleaching actually makes your teeth whiter than they are naturally. Like bleaching a cream shirt, there’s always a whiter white that can be attained. Teeth bleaching uses hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to achieve that extreme whiteness. These oxidizers react to saliva, chemically whitening the teeth.

Teeth bleaching tools may be obtained at a pharmacy, grocery store, or dentist’s office. The most effective tooth bleaching options are available from your Austin teeth whitening dentist. Laser whitening, for example, is a one-hour, in-office procedure which lightens teeth by multiple shades immediately.

However, teeth bleaching isn’t for everyone. If you suffer from extremely sensitive teeth, the bleach can prove incredibly irritating. Talk to your Austin cosmetic dentist, Dr. Michael McCarty, DDS, before deciding if teeth bleaching is right for you.