What’s the Difference Between Tooth Whitening and Tooth Bleaching?

If you have yellowed teeth and are trying to restore them to their original glory, why stop there? While there are many tooth whitening procedures out there, you could opt to bleach your teeth instead. Whitening takes the teeth tooth whitening back to their natural color, but bleaching goes above and beyond the call of duty.

The History of Tooth Whitening

Trying to get your teeth whiter has been around for a long, long time. In ancient Rome, people used urine and goat milk to try to do the same thing. Thousands of years ago, people would chew on sticks to try to scrape plaque off their teeth. Starting in the 20th Century, people started using chemicals to bleach their teeth, and in the 1980s, it became very popular and mass produced. Today the procedure has progressed into something much less gross. It is now the most popular and requested procedure in the dental industry.

What Sets Apart Bleaching?

Because bleaching is trying to produce a color that is actually whiter than the original tooth color, it requires strong chemicals, usually based in hydrogen peroxide. At-home treatments that usually are not as effective contain a smaller percentage of hydrogen peroxide, whereas very effective in-office treatments use stronger solutions and light to help accelerate the bleaching process.

In-Office Procedures

There are two main types of in-office dental procedures that whiten your teeth to various degrees. The first is light-accelerated bleaching, where a peroxide solution is painted onto the teeth and sped up with halogen light that gives off enough energy to activate the peroxide without getting the tooth too hot. This treatment takes under an hour.

The next possibility is internal bleaching. This can be performed on teeth that have had a root canal and are stained from the inside. This involves drilling a hole and then filling the tooth’s pulp chamber with a peroxide solution that works inside the tooth to whiten it from the inside out.

Whitest and Brightest

No matter which option you choose, if you want to make your teeth fluorescent white, seeing your dentist is the way to go. He or she will be able to discuss your options with you.

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