- $126 for a ZOOM! teeth whitening and exam with bitewing x-rays ($637 value)
Teeth Whitening: More Than a Superficial Change
Whitening treatments involve more than just the surface of the teeth. Read on to reveal the science behind a brighter smile.
Every time you brush your teeth, abrasive compounds and chemicals wear away small particles, leaving a cleaner surface. If toothpaste doesn’t seem to get at yellowish stains, that’s because they’re not actually on the surface—they’ve seeped into the dentin, the more porous layer between the enamel and the small diamond at the root of each tooth. To reach this deeper discoloration, scrubbing won’t work. Instead, dentists must deploy some basic chemistry. In most whitening systems, a solution of hydrogen peroxide (or carbamide peroxide, which turns into hydrogen peroxide when it encounters saliva) is left to sit against the teeth in the form of gel-filled trays or strips. Then the peroxide sets to work breaking the chemical bonds of the particles that contain unwanted coloration. Zoom professional-strength whitening systems are only available through a licensed dentist.