Teeth Whitening Facts and Myths
Potential teeth whitening clients want to know: What system produces the whitest smile for the money? How much will that great smile cost? How much time will it take? And, how much of a hassle is it? The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate teeth whiteners, so, where does this leave the consumer? The consumer is left somewhat puzzled and downright confused. Most people hesitate or hold off on pursuing their beautiful white smile due to the worry of wasting time and money.
The science behind teeth whitening:
We use peroxide-based chemistry. Peroxide compounds are able to whiten teeth through a process called oxidation. Peroxide has the ability to slightly penetrate the inner part of the enamel. Within only a few minutes after application, peroxide penetrates where there are complex organic molecules within the tooth that reflect a specific wavelength of light. These molecules are responsible for the color of the tooth.
It has been shown that by releasing free radicals, peroxide has the ability to oxidize the color-producing organic compounds found within the enamel's organic make-up. When these organic compounds are oxidized, the resulting oxidized molecules reflect a different wavelength of light. They are now a different color, which is perceived as whiter teeth!
The types of peroxide:
The two types of peroxide compounds are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Take home, over-the-counter whitening systems use carbamide peroxide. In-office whitening that uses an accelerator light should use only hydrogen peroxide, because carbamide peroxide does not react to light energy. We use only hydrogen peroxide for our chairside, light-assisted whitening procedure.