If you are embarrassed by the yellowish or brownish colour of your teeth, there is no need to worry yourself. Your dentist will advise you to go for tooth whitening. The following is a general look at what tooth whitening is all about.

What Is Tooth Whitening?

Tooth whitening is used to lighten your teeth and remove discolouration and stains. This is not a procedure that is done once, it will be repeated after a while to maintain the bright colour of your teeth.

What Affects the Colour Of Your Teeth?

The external layer of your tooth is known as the enamel. The reflection and spread of light off your enamel combined with the natural colour of dentin--the layer under your tooth--create the colour of your teeth.

Each day, a thin coat forms on your enamel and gathers stains. Your tooth's enamel has pores that absorb stains.

The main reasons for stained or yellow teeth are the following:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Consumption of dark coloured fluids like tea, coffee, cola and wine.
  • Failure to brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Aging teeth become less bright since your enamel becomes thinner and your dentin becomes darker


Before tooth whitening is conducted other dental problems need to be dealt with. For instance, cavities should be treated because they can affect the success of the whitening procedure since the whitening gel will pass through the decayed areas reaching the inner sections of your tooth. For gums that have receded, the roots of your teeth are discoloured or appear yellow. The whitening gel cannot make them whiter.


The two kinds of whitening processes are non vital whitening and vital whitening. Vital whitening is a popular technique and is done on teeth with live nerves. On the other hand, Non vital whitening is performed on a tooth with no live nerves- one that has undergone root canal treatment (placing of an artificial replacement tooth).

Vital Whitening

 First, a substance will be applied to protect your gums. A gel is then applied on the tooth surface. This gel contains hydrogen peroxide, a component known to promote bleaching or whitening.

Some whitening gels need to be activated using a laser light. After the gel is applied, the dentist will shine this light on your teeth.

Depending on the stains on your teeth, the method being used and the degree of white you want to achieve, you might require 1-3 appointments. For badly discoloured teeth, you might be asked to continue with bleaching from home.

For home treatment, the dentist will make impressions of your teeth and create custom mouthpieces for you. These need to fit well so that the whitening gel remains in place inside your teeth.

At home, you are required to fill each mouthpiece using the whitening gel provided by your dentist. You are supposed to wear the mouthpiece for a few hours each day. Most people will achieve the level of whiteness they want in up to two weeks. However, it is recommended that you use the mouthpiece for at least four weeks for lasting results.

For more information, contact a business such as Elphin Dental.