Wine, chocolate, coffee, soft drinks, pasta sauce: these are all some of the best foods and drinks to enjoy, but they also are notorious for staining tooth enamel, leading to yellowed or dull teeth. While brushing after meals (or at least drinking plenty of water) can help to avoid enamel staining, some stains are just a part of normal eating and drinking. For patients who are looking to restore their “pearly whites,” professional teeth whitening from Dr. Richard L. Rodgers can provide powerful results. But how does teeth whitening work? What exactly is happening on your tooth enamel to remove stains? Today, we’re exploring the science behind teeth whitening, and how this treatment achieves such dramatic results for Atlanta, GA patients.
Whiter teeth can lift your whole appearance, and help you to smile a little wider. Are you ready for a more youthful, healthy-looking smile? When it comes to teeth whitening, choose a dentist with the skill and experience to offer you natural, comfortable results. Dr. Richard L. Rodgers is a graduate of the Emory University School of Dentistry and has been practicing in the Atlanta area for over 30 years. He has helped Atlanta, GA patients just like you uncover a whiter, more radiant smile. Call today to schedule a whitening consultation at 404.577.6620.
Enamel is the white glossy surface we see on the outside of teeth. But underneath the thin layers of enamel, each tooth is composed of dentin – a layer of dense, bone-like material that, while hard, is slightly weaker than that of the protective enamel layers.
On top of the enamel, a lesser known layer called dental “pellicle” coats the outside of each tooth. This layer of protein, created from saliva, actually protects the enamel surface of your teeth. However, highly acidic foods (such as tomato-based sauces, coffee, and tea) can penetrate the pellicle at times and reach the porous enamel, depositing stains called “chromogens” onto its surface.
While brushing with whitening toothpastes can help remove some stains, the pellicle layer can never be fully removed at home through brushings and cleanings. Therefore, some stains remain trapped underneath the pellicle layer, unable to be removed conventionally. Though harmless, stains cause the discoloration that many patients find unaesthetic to their smile.
The good news is that, though the pellicle layer cannot be adequately penetrated for deep cleaning at home, Dr. Rodgers offer professional whitening treatments which DO reach past the pellicle layer and into the layers of porous enamel. The whitening agents used in professional teeth whitening create an oxidation reaction that breaks up and removes leftover stain compounds which discolor porous enamel.
Most whitening agents are composed of either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide (or, H2O2) the same chemical compound that is used to disinfect cuts and scrapes). When used for teeth whitening, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea when combined with water, allowing hydrogen peroxide to scour the enamel surface stains.
Dr. Rodgers uses an in-office whitening process that utilizes 15 to 35 percent hydrogen peroxide gels, sometimes combined with a UV dental light to speed up the chemical oxidation reaction. A light buffing of teeth before applying the whitening agent can help to break through the pellicle layer and allow more whitening agent to reach the chromogens within the first few layers of enamel.
The science behind teeth whitening shows why in-office treatments from Dr. Rodgers can dramatically remove stains and offer results that simply aren’t attainable at home. If you’re looking for a whiter, brighter smile, professional teeth whitening at our Atlanta, GA practice could be for you! Contact us online today!