Is there a difference between teeth whitening and bleaching?

Teeth bleaching can reinvigorate your smile.

White teeth are commonly considered a symbol of great hygiene and stunning beauty. Unfortunately, teeth can easily discolour due to habits like smoking, drinking black coffee or even just forgetting to brush.

Worry not, however, as teeth whitening methods are available to restore your teeth to their pearly white shade. So what exactly is teeth whitening, and does it differ from bleaching?

What is teeth whitening?

It's easy to think of teeth whitening and bleaching as the same thing. There is, however, a technical difference:

  • A teeth whitening product may restore the colour of your teeth by removing surface staining, but does not bleach.
  • A teeth bleaching product uses hydrogen peroxide to chemically whiten the teeth to their natural shade.

Whitening products can be thought of as particular toothpastes or over the counter whitening strips. It's likely these will remove surface dirt and staining but won't give you the movie-star glow you used to have, and certainly not as quickly.

Bleaching can remove deep staining and restore your teeth to their original glow.Bleaching can remove deep staining and restore your teeth to their original glow.

How does teeth bleaching work?

Teeth bleaching products use a food safe hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient. These chemicals permeate your teeth, removing both surface staining and deeper discolouration in the enamel.

For longer lasting results, City Dentists provides take-home bleaching kits.

There are two different kinds of bleaching: in-practice and take-home. With an in-practice bleaching, a stronger bleach will be used – sometimes encouraged by an accelerator light – and the whitening will happen in a single session. This may be appealing for people after immediate results, but is often quickly undone as the enamel is dehydrated by the process.

For longer lasting results, City Dentists provides take-home bleaching kits. When you come to us for a teeth bleaching, we'll take moulds of your teeth to create custom-fit trays. Once the trays are ready, we'll invite you back to ensure they fit comfortably and show you how to use the kit.

You'll need to apply the bleaching chemical inside the trays and wear them for a certain length of time each day, for around one week. The trays help to ensure the chemical covers your teeth and protects your gums from exposure.

While bleaching your teeth, it's even more important to stay on top of your oral health to get the best results. Remember to brush and floss before each bleaching, and talk to your dentist about a scale and polish treatment before your trays are made.

For further enquiries, or to schedule an appointment, book online or call City Dentists on 04 978 4964.