What do dentists use to whiten teeth?

What do dentists use to whiten teeth?

We all want a white shiny smile.  Nothing radiates joy, happiness, and success like a pair of whites.  But there are so many outside factors that stain our teeth.  In fact, pretty much everything we eat can cause teeth stains.  One or three visits to the dentist can give you the white smile you want.  But, what is the product that they use to do this?  Can you do it at home? 

The product

At the office, the dentist will apply what is known as a bleach.  There are two types of bleaches: hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.  They are applied in the form of a gel.

Hydrogen peroxide is otherwise known as oxygenated water. It is that same liquid you apply to wounds, except that in this case it has a lower concentration. 

This bleach breaks the stains into smaller pieces. This reduces its density and makes your teeth look whiter.  The dentist will apply a protective gel around your gums.  The bleach is then applied and a special light or laser is used to enhance the whitening product.

The dentist will usually prescribe a peroxide-containing gel for the patient to continue their treatment at home.  This has a lower peroxide concentration than the one used at the dental office.

The result

As a result, you get whiter teeth for at least six months.  In some cases it might last up to two years.  Although the whitening process will take only one visit to the dentist, the patient will need to visit when teeth begin to stain again. 

Results will vary among patients and it is related to several things.  Not all teeth are suitable for teeth whitening using bleach.  Yellow stains are the ones that react better with peroxide.  Some brown stains might recede.  Gray stains will not be removed at all.  It is important to consult with your dentist before going through the bleaching process.

Stains caused by medication or tooth injury will not be removed with peroxides.