The Difference Between Teeth Cleaning and Teeth Whitening
The term "teeth cleaning" gives many people the idea that their teeth will look whiter after the work is done. However, typical teeth cleaning, or prophylaxis, often does little to whiten the teeth. Instead, teeth cleaning is about removing plaque and tartar from the teeth.
Cleaning keeps the gums healthy by greatly reducing the amount of irritants that are in contact with them. It also makes it easier for the dentist to find cavities and other problems, since those things won't be obscured once the tartar is removed. The teeth are polished after cleaning is complete, which makes them shiny and can remove some very superficial stains. However, the point of this polishing isn't to whiten the teeth, but to make it harder for new tartar to stick to them.
Teeth whitening, on the other hand, is all about appearances. A bleach solution is applied to the teeth to reduce or eliminate staining. The specifics of how this is done can vary by patient, dental office, or both, but the basic idea remains the same.
Mild bleaches take longer to work, but are easier on the gums and less likely to cause the teeth to be sensitive. Strong solutions work quickly, but your teeth are more likely to be sensitive for a few days afterward.
Because bleach cannot get rid of tartar or plaque, teeth cleaning must be performed fairly soon before whitening is done. This usually doesn't happen on the same day, but if it's been a few months since your last routine cleaning, you'll want a new cleaning first.
Here at Radiant Dental Care, we do both routine cleaning and cosmetic whitening. Give us a call for either service.