How teeth whitening works?


Last Updated on August 22, 2022 by Dr Gustavo Assatourians DDS


A beautiful smile is the most attractive trait of personality. The first thing we usually notice in a person is the pearly white smile. A white shiny smile makes one more confident and self-possessed. Before getting to know how white whitening works, let’s get to know the reasons for teeth yellowing or discoloration. The tooth is made-up of an outer hard translucent layer called enamel, which protects the teeth, an inner layer known as dentin and an innermost layer consists of nerves and vessels called the pulp.

For most of the population, the whiteness of their teeth naturally reduces over time with age, diet, wear and tear and habits like smoking and drinking too much black tea or coffee. On the other hand, some people have less white or yellow teeth from the beginning. Regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings can prevent the deposition of plaque and staining to an extent. The major problem arises when the pellicle layer stays on the outer layer of teeth for years, and the pigment causing elements become a part of the hydroxyapatite crystals of the enamel layer. This is the time when whitening systems come into play.

How does it work?

Tooth whitening is a simple procedure. Tooth whitening agents use bleaching chemicals to get into the tooth enamel and start a chemical reaction, specifically oxidation-reduction that breaks down the staining compounds leading to the whitening of discolored teeth. Most of the modern-day whiteners use one of the two chemical agents, carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. When used in different ways, carbamide peroxide breaks down into urea and hydrogen peroxide, being the active whitening ingredient.

Before starting with any kind of professional whitening treatment, our dentist at Channel Islands Family Dental, Oxnard makes sure to complete all the preliminary procedures like cleaning, filing of the cavities, and making sure gums are healthy to provide desired results to our patients.

Teeth whitenings are mainly divided into three types:

In-office systems:

Most of the in-office systems use 15 to 35 percent of hydrogen peroxide gels as the bleaching agents, sometimes joined with high intensity LED light to expedite the chemical reaction. First, the technique involves the protection of gums by putting the barrier and then placing a bleaching agent on several teeth for several minutes, rinses it off, and reapplies it several times. With just 40-minute professional treatment, four to six lighter shades can be achieved.

At-home systems: 

This system mainly uses 10 to 20 percent carbamide peroxide gels as bleaching that also contains glycerine, sodium hydroxide, water, and flavoring agents. To begin with the treatment, the dentist will take impressions of your mouth, and administer the bleaching gel patient has to put a thin ribbon of gel into the tray and has to wear it for two hours or during the day or while sleeping. Most of these systems take one to two weeks to show results.


In difficult cases, a combination of in-office and home systems can be used that can achieve up to 12 to 15 shades lighter whitening.

These procedures are considered safe and effective when done under professional supervision and we at our Oxnard center, always go the extra mile to provide care and comfort for our patients.

At Channel Islands Family Dental, we provide a wide range of dental services to Oxnard residents. Get your pearly white smiles today. Call us and book an appointment.

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