Ever wonder how teeth whitening actually works? Well, there’s a science to teeth whitening. The active ingredient in professional teeth whitening is Hydrogen peroxide. The Hydrogen Peroxide molecules are not very stable, so they tend to breakdown quickly. As Hydrogen Peroxide molecules break apart they release free radicals. These free radicals are small enough to diffuse inside the tooth where they attack stains. As the stains disintegrate the tooth is left with a naturally lighter appearance. Since Hydrogen peroxide is a very volatile molecule that breaks down rapidly, it’s crucial for a dental office to only use whitening gel that’s fresh and has been refrigerated the entire time before use.
Your Teeth will only get as white as your unique natural tooth color. Our technology has not yet been able to predict how much whiter teeth will get following a teeth whitening procedure. That’s because it’s not yet possible to determine how much of the color is due to stains inside a tooth. The final result after teeth whitening is your natural tooth color after the free radical molecules removed stains from inside the enamel. While we’ve seen people with heavily stained teeth achieve results of up to 20 shades lighter. Others, who don’t have as much stains inside their teeth might only see an improvement of 2 or 4 shades lighter.
White spots on teeth are very common. They may be caused due to a lack of calcium (Hypocalcification) in areas of tooth enamel. There are many reasons for white spots to form including family genetics, wearing braces, enamel erosion due to plaque, fluorosis, acid reflux etc…. Whatever the cause for white spots, as stains inside the tooth are removed the white spots can become more prominent. White spots that previously were covered up by stains can become visible. Usually they tend to start blending in after a few days as the tooth regains moisture and after a few weeks should be close to normal levels. For this reason we recommend to whiten your teeth at least two weeks prior to any major event (i.e. wedding, photo shoot, etc…)
The hydrogen peroxide molecules on occasion may penetrate through the enamel to make its way to the dental pulp. The “zing” or sharp sensation is a result of that. This slight sensitivity usually does not last for more than a day. During the procedure it’s recommend for patients to notify their whitening team if sensitivity becomes common. In which case stopping the procedure early or just not placing any more whitening gel on the sensitive teeth will limit the amount of sensitivity after the procedure. With zoom whitening an average person would require three 15-minute sessions to remove stains from their teeth. Fresh whitening gel is applied after each whitening session. But for some people with sensitive teeth performing just 2 or even 1 session is enough to achieve good results and to minimize the side effects of sensitivity.
It’s important to follow a “white diet” for the first 48 hours free from foods and drinks that can stain teeth. The pores in enamel are open and are more susceptible to absorbing stains in the first 2 days. The diet is the most important factor in maintaining whitening results. Consuming liquids or foods that stain your teeth can nullify the whitening results in just weeks. We suggest drinking coffee through a straw so that it doesn’t touch the front portion of a tooth. Smoking should be avoided. And try to rinse with water immediately after consuming foods or drinks that may stain teeth.
White strips and most other whitening gels you can pick up in the store contain carbamide peroxice. Carbamide peroxide is about three times weaker but more stable than hydrogen peroxide. Which means it would take longer to get the same results as the in-office 25% Hydrogen peroxide treatment. The in-office teeth whitening treatment is ideal for those who need their teeth whitened in a hurry or just don’t have the patience to deal with whitening trays.
Teeth whitening is the safest cosmetic procedure you can elect to have done in a dental office. There’s no damage to enamel or the integrity of your tooth structure. When done by a professional they can ensure that your gums are protected from being burned by the whitening gel. Aside from the slight tooth sensitivity that may last up to 24 hours, there are no other negative side effects.
Please read the Complete Guide to Zoom Teeth whitening for everything you need to know about the Zoom whitening process.