If you are living with yellow, stained teeth, you might be thinking about whitening or bleaching treatments. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, dentists explain there are a few crucial differences between them. Familiarizing yourself with the unique properties of each procedure will help you make an informed decision on which to pursue.
Dentist’s Guide to Teeth Whitening vs. Bleaching
Over time, plaque and tartar accumulate on the surface of your teeth, resulting in a yellow, mottled, or stained appearance. By removing this layer, your natural white enamel will shine through. Dentists use special polishing discs to buff away these surface stains, while at-home whitening toothpaste can be introduced to keep them from reappearing. This physical removal will not lift stains that have seeped through the enamel, which is why bleaching is helpful.
Bleaching refers to any procedure designed to lighten the teeth beyond their natural color. Dental enamel is naturally porous, allowing pigments from the foods you eat and the beverages you drink to stain the underlying dentin. However, dental bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide can penetrate through the enamel to lighten the underlying dentin, whitening your teeth. This practice is either performed in-office with special whitening agents and UV lights or by having patients wear bleaching trays with prescribed whitening gels at home.
Knowing What’s Best for You
Depending on your oral health, your dentist may prescribe one or both of these procedures to whiten your teeth. Dental prophylaxis, or routine teeth cleanings, can help to prevent discoloration caused by build-up, while teeth bleaching eliminates dental stains along the way.
If you’re interested in making your smile whiter and brighter, Mark Stephens, DMD can assist you. With a focus on preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry, this experienced dentist is committed to helping you achieve excellent oral health. For more information about the services his practice provides, explore their website or call (859) 626-0069 to reach their office in Richmond, KY.