How teeth whitening works on teeth?

A captivating smile can light up a room, and one of the secrets behind a radiant smile lies in teeth whitening. This popular cosmetic dental treatment has become a go-to solution for achieving a brighter, more confident smile. But have you ever wondered how teeth whitening actually works? In this article, we will delve into the science behind teeth whitening and explore the mechanisms by which it effectively removes stains and discoloration from teeth, giving you the dazzling smile you desire.

Teeth whitening

Understanding Tooth Staining

To understand how teeth whitening works, we must first grasp the nature of tooth staining. Teeth can develop stains and discoloration due to various factors, including the consumption of dark-colored foods and beverages, tobacco use, aging, and certain medications. These external and internal influences can lead to the accumulation of pigmented molecules on the tooth surface or within the tooth structure.

before airflow dental spa scaling and polishing

The Bleaching Process

Teeth whitening treatments typically involve the use of bleaching agents, such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, to remove stains and discoloration. The process can be explained in the following steps:

  1. Penetration: The bleaching gel, applied to the tooth surface, penetrates the enamel and reaches the dentin layer where the stains reside. Enamel is the outer protective layer of the tooth, while dentin is the inner layer that determines tooth color.

  2. Chemical Reaction: Once the bleaching agent is in contact with the stains, it undergoes a chemical reaction. Hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide breaks down into oxygen molecules, which act as oxidizing agents. These oxygen molecules penetrate the enamel and dentin, targeting the chromophores (pigment molecules) responsible for tooth staining.

  3. Stain Dissolution: The oxygen molecules released during the chemical reaction break the chemical bonds of the chromophores, causing them to break apart or become less concentrated. As a result, the stains dissolve, leading to a brighter and whiter appearance.

Activation Methods

To enhance the effectiveness of teeth whitening, various activation methods can be employed:

  1. Light Activation: Some teeth whitening treatments incorporate a special light source, typically LED or halogen light, to activate the bleaching agent. The light accelerates the chemical reaction, allowing for a faster and more efficient breakdown of stains.

  2. Chemical  Activation: Some whiening agents have incorporated self-initiators which allows the whitening gel to work by itself without use of external activations.

Teeth whitening

Professional Monitoring and Customization

Teeth whitening treatments offered by dental professionals ensure proper monitoring and customization. The concentration of the bleaching agent is carefully selected to balance effectiveness and safety. Dental professionals evaluate the initial tooth shade, assess the type and severity of stains, and tailor the treatment plan accordingly to achieve the desired results.

Considerations and Limitations

While teeth whitening is highly effective for most extrinsic stains, it may have limitations for certain types of discoloration, such as intrinsic stains caused by tooth trauma or medication-induced discoloration. In such cases, alternative cosmetic dental procedures like veneers or bonding may be recommended to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome.

Our happy patients

You can check out more cases done by our dentists at this page :

teeth whitening before
teeth whitening after


Teeth whitening harnesses the power of bleaching agents and their chemical reactions to remove stains and discoloration from teeth. As the bleaching agents penetrate the enamel and dentin, they break down the pigmented molecules responsible for staining, resulting in a whiter and more radiant smile. By understanding the science behind teeth whitening, you can approach your dental professional with confidence, knowing how this transformative treatment can help you achieve the smile of your dreams.

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