What happens when potassium iodide is added to a disulphide?

K.S. Nagabhushana

Sparkling facts about tooth whiteners

Everybody loves to have white teeth. One of the most common procedures that dentists do these days is cosmetic dentistry. In this, tooth whitening is the most common and successful procedure. Over the last few years, tooth whitening has become very popular as it's an easy, inexpensive way to show off.

How do our teeth get stained?

There are some pigments in the food we eat that stains the enamel layer of our teeth. These pigments slowly penetrate into the porous surface of our teeth through cracks and crevices in our teeth. Over time these stains become darker and make our teeth look discoloured. Even the conventional brushing isn't good enough to get rid of these pigments. Having a lot of tobacco, tea, coffee and red wines stain our teeth the most. The only solution to this is tooth whitening.

How tooth whiteners work?

All tooth whiteners contain a bleaching agent which you apply on the enamel for a specific period of time. This bleaching agent removes the stain on your teeth. Some bleaching agents are stronger than the others. The main bleaching agents in tooth whiteners are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.

The main bleaching agents in tooth whiteners are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.

As the bleaching agent touches the tooth, it creates oxidizing reactions which penetrate the enamel and the dentin, and breaks down the stain. The highest concentration bleaching agents are used in the laser whitening therapy. Although results of tooth whitening techniques vary, people who have yellow stained teeth due to habits like smoking, have found teeth whitening to be effective within just one session. However, for people with greyish white or dark brown stains, tooth whitening takes longer to affect them as these stains are deeper inside the tooth. These stains are caused by consumption of antibiotics like tetracycline.

Risks of tooth whitening

If a high concentration agent touches unprotected tissues, chemical burns that are caused by gel bleaching occur. The most common side effect of teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity. This occurs because the enamel gets worn away and the dentine layer gets exposed. However, removal of the bleaching agent eliminates tooth sensitivity.

Tags :     Everyday Chemistry     Teeth whiteners     Enamel     Bleaching     Tooth    

Save a PDF and you save a tree! Try not to take a print of me!

Like Chemistry? Like us!
Also on: