Does teeth whitening damage enamel? Newport Beach dentist weighs in
A bright white smile immediately gives people a positive first impression of you – it makes you look radiant and signals to others that you are conscientious about your health. But some of our favorite foods and beverages, such as coffee, tea, wine, and dark sauces work against us when it comes to keeping our teeth pearly white. With so many teeth whitening options available nowadays, it can be easy to just grab an over-the-counter counter product and try to whiten your teeth at home. But that begs the question, “Does teeth whitening damage enamel?”Below, Newport Beach dentist Dr. John Ravera weighs in.
How tooth whitening products work
First, it helps to understand tooth anatomy and how tooth whitening products work. The outer surface of teeth is called the enamel, and it is what gives your teeth a pearly appearance. While it seems smooth at first glance and to the touch, enamel contains many small channels that are called “tubules.” When you eat richly colored foods, consume beverages such as coffee or tea, or use tobacco products such as cigarettes or chewing tobacco, their pigments can enter these tubules and become trapped. Toothbrushing and professional dental cleanings can dislodge some of the stains on the surface of your teeth, but it is impossible to remove these deeper stains from within the tubules without a different whitening approach.
In addition, as we age, our enamel naturally becomes thinner, so the yellow dentin beneath the teeth becomes more visible through the translucent enamel, giving a yellowed appearance to your teeth. Excessive fluoride use, and certain medications such as the antibiotics tetracycline and doxycycline can also cause staining.
In general, tooth whitening products work by penetrating deep within the tubules of the teeth to lift the stubborn pigments and lighten the yellowish dentin. In addition, diode laser technologies are now available that can be used to selectively whiten individual teeth or whiten all your teeth.
So, to get back to the question, “Does teeth whitening damage enamel?”—the answer depends on what type of tooth whitening product and method you are using!
The difference between professional and over-the-counter tooth whitening
There are many tooth whitening products on the market today. From over-the-counter whitening toothpastes, strips, and trays to professional whitening trays, UV lights, and lasers, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to use. Knowing about the effectiveness and safety of your options can help you decide.
Over-the-counter tooth whitening products tend to be relatively ineffective, uncomfortable, and unregulated. The bleaching formulations used in these products can vary significantly, and can either be too small to make much of a difference, or too large of an amount that can not only erode tooth enamel, but also cause sores and irritation on your gums and be unhealthy if you accidentally consume it. Moreover, since over-the-counter whitening products are not custom fitted to your teeth, they are more likely to lead to these side effects and accidental consumption because the whitening products tend to leak out of the ill-fitting trays or strips.
When you receive professional teeth whitening services at John Ravera D.D.S. General & Cosmetic Dentistry, your oral health is our top priority, followed by great results. We use a peroxide that is:
The peroxide formula creates an oxidation process within the teeth to lift stubborn stains. We create custom-fitted whitening trays based on dental impressions of your mouth that are specifically designed to keep the whitening product where it belongs – on your teeth. We can also add a buffering agent to your formulation if you suffer from tooth sensitivity.
If you need to whiten your teeth rapidly for a big upcoming event, then whitening with the diode laser can be a great option. In just about an hour, this tooth whitening system harnesses the power of light energy to speed up the whitening reaction and dramatically whiten your teeth.
Get that bright, white smile – safely!
There is no need to hide your smile because of yellowed or stained teeth. With gentle and effective tooth whitening at John Ravera D.D.S. General & Cosmetic Dentistry in Newport Beach, CA, the beautiful, pearly white smile is within your reach! Call us today at 949-877-3606.Back to Whitening Page