Periodic Table -> The Chemistry of Teeth Whitening

The Chemistry of Teeth Whitening

As most of you know teeth whitening as a process of bleaching your teeth in attempt to improve the teeth appearance. A tooth bleaching is a chemical process that usually uses oxidizing agent to remove discoloration stains from the teeth.

So what is the chemistry magic behind teeth whitening? When the water reacts with carbamide peroxide (an active ingredient in some bleaching solutions) it releases hydrogen peroxide, which in turn whitens the teeth. Some other teeth whitening gels contain directly hydrogen peroxide, which serves as a bleaching agent. The hydrogen peroxide goes through the teeth surface and oxidizes the organic composites (these composites actually cause the teeth staining) that exist in the tooth enamel. The oxidation of the organic composites results in smaller remaining molecules that are much lighter in color compared to the original organic composites.

Many different factors can cause teeth discoloration including, but not limited to consuming certain foods and beverages like coffee, tea, soda drinks, red wine, and berries, discoloration caused by aging, tooth damage, and more.

There are several different ways to do teeth bleaching, including using over-the-counter teeth whitening products, however a dentist supervised teeth whitening remains one of the most popular options. The dentist will have to examine the patient first and determine if the patientís teeth and gums are healthy. The dentist will also have to determine what caused the stains, which is really important, because not all types of teeth stains can be successfully lightened.

Once the dentist has examined the patient he can recommend using on of the two following options. The first one involves using custom trays containing bleaching agent for several weeks (the tray must be worn about an hour daily). The second one is an in-office teeth whitening, done with trays containing bleaching gel. Using laser teeth whitening procedure, which involves application of light in order to activate the bleaching solution applied to the teeth, can enhance the effects of the in-office procedure. The in-office teeth whitening takes about an hour and most of the time a single visit to the dentists is all that is needed.

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