Is teeth whitening safe?

We are writing this blog with the intention of guiding those who want to whiten their teeth. One of the upper most concern that one can have regarding teeth whitening is whether the entire teeth whitening process is safe and if there are any harmful side effects or risks associated with the procedure that one must keep in mind before going in for it. If you are reading this we hope this blog brings clarity to you on this subject and makes the decision to whether you should whiten your teeth or not easy to take. So here it goes.

What is tooth whitening?

While many of you who are contemplating getting your teeth whitened probably already know this however we would like to still clear the concept for those who may not know. Teeth whitening is a process of lightening the natural color of your teeth. This process may be done on your own or under the supervision of a dentist.

Why does one need teeth whitening?

Despite brushing and flossing the teeth the right way and regularly teeth can still get discolored over a period of time. Teeth get discolored due to a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons teeth get discolored are as follows –

  1. Drinking coffee, tea and wines regularly can discolor the enamel. In fact any food item that has acids and tannins can discolor your teeth.
  2. Smoking cigarettes or consuming tobacco in any form. Tar and nicotine found in tobacco can stain teeth.
  3. Aging and genes – As one gets older some people’s teeth discolor because the enamel gets thinner. This may be due to genetics also.
  4. Too much fluoride can lead to white spotting on the teeth.
  5. Certain medications like antibiotics, antihistamines and antipsychotic medicines can cause discolored teeth over a long period of usage.
  6. Trauma due to any injury to the tooth can also be one of the reasons of discoloration.

What are the ways in which you can get teeth whitening?

  1. Your dentist can give you the products to use to whiten teeth at home.
  2. You can buy over the counter products to whiten teeth without any dentist’s supervision.
  3. Your dentist can do it for you at their dental clinic.

Please note if you use over the counter products there is a chance you may not get the desired results because most of these products contain low levels of chemicals required for teeth whitening and also may only solve the problem superficially.

What are the risks associated with teeth whitening?

  1. Gum Irritation – Whether you do teeth whitening yourself or a dentist does it for you the products used contain bleaching agents. These bleaching agents if they come in contact with your gums can cause irritation. However you are better protected against this risk if you are doing it at a dental clinic because a dentist would put a protective gel to ensure your gums stay protected while the procedure goes on. This kind of irritation even if it occurs is generally temporary and will go away once the procedures are completed.
  • Tooth Sensitivity – Your teeth can become more sensitive after undergoing a teeth whitening process. This risk generally is observed in the first couple of sittings and is likely to go down subsequently. One of the reasons behind this is that the peroxide used in the treatment process can cause inflammation of the pulp in the teeth leading to sensitivity. This sensitivity may be mild in some while severe in other cases. It depends on the concentration of peroxide used, intensity of the light used during the process and overall health of the teeth at the time of the procedure. In many cases this sensitivity may resolve on its own but in case it does not your dentist may advise you to use toothpaste which is specifically made for sensitive teeth. He may pause the process for a while or may advise some products to remineralize your teeth.
  • If you have had dental restorations in the past, please first take the advice of a dentist whether you should go for a teeth whitening process. The peroxide used in teeth whitening process is said to harm dental restorations. Additionally fillings and restorations like crowns, bridges and veneers do not whiten. So if you have these it may lead to uneven coloring.
  • If you have poor gum health, sensitive teeth, receding gums, worn enamel or allergy to peroxide its best to avoid teeth whitening. If you have cavities then those need to be fixed before going in for teeth whitening.
  • While teeth whitening is safe for pregnant women but generally not recommended and its is perfectly safe for nursing mothers.           

Hope we have been able to highlight the major risks associated with the teeth whitening process. It is important to remember that teeth whitening does not give permanent results. It can last from a few month to 3 years. How long a teeth whitening lasts depends upon your eating and drinking habits as well as the oral hygiene maintained by you. It is crucial for you to set your expectations right before this process so as not to be disappointed. This process can only lighten your teeth color and not make them super white. People with highly stained teeth like smokers are likely to get limited results. Teeth whitening however is a widely used procedure across the world. So if you are thinking about it, consult your dentist and go for it as advised and get those pearly white teeth.

You can always call Ensure Dental Care (the family dentist near you) on 940-274-3229 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Ensure Dental Care is the one of the best family dental clinics at Saginaw Texas. We accept all major insurance providers.

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