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Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

With the rise of social media, everybody wants the perfect bright smile. Teeth whitening has become extremely famous in the last decade, from celebrity endorsements to over-the-counter products. About 40% of Americans have tried one or the other way of teeth whitening. But the million-dollar question is: Is teeth whitening safe? To answer this, we will discuss the risks and concerns associated with teeth whitening in this article. So, without further ado, let’s get into it. 

What is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that uses bleaching agents to help you achieve a brighter smile. It removes stains and discoloration from your teeth and makes them several shades lighter. Teeth whitening is used to remove both extrinsic (surface stains from foods, drinks, and smoking) and intrinsic (deep stains within the tooth) stains.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

In order to understand how teeth whitening works, let’s first understand what determines the color of your natural teeth. The color of your natural teeth is influenced by dentine, the inner layer of your tooth’s crown. Dentine is covered by a hard but transparent outer layer called enamel, which reflects dentine’s pale yellow hues, giving your teeth their natural color. 

Consuming food like tea, coffee, wine, and soft drinks incorporates the enamel crystals and prevents dentine reflection. Bleaching agents in whitening chemicals penetrate the enamel crystals and break down discoloration. The most commonly used bleaching agents are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. These agents release oxygen molecules that chemically react with the stains on the teeth, whitening them. 

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

After going through the ins and outs of teeth whitening, the question arises: is teeth whitening safe? Well, yes. Generally, teeth whitening is safe when carried out by an experienced professional or at home under their guidance. However, like all other procedures, teeth whitening has some side effects. A dentist is advised to discuss all the possible outcomes with the patient before starting the procedure. 

Following are the possible adverse effects of a teeth whitening procedure. 

Sensitivity:

Tooth sensitivity is the most common side effect of teeth whitening. You may experience sensitivity after the procedure for several days, even weeks. According to the American Dental Association, sensitivity after teeth whitening procedures can result from peroxide infiltration into the layers of the teeth, disrupting nerves and blood vessels there. 

However, this sensitivity is short-lived and vanishes after some time. Suppose it does not use fluoride toothpaste or potassium nitrate gels to remineralize the enamel. Lowering the intensity of UV light has also proved beneficial.  

Irritation to the Gums:

Another risk associated with teeth whitening is gum irritation. This occurs due to the contact of peroxides with the gums. In-office whitening procedures, your dentist applies a protective gel over your gums to prevent this. However, your gums can contact the chemicals during in-house treatments, causing irritation or discoloration.

Discoloration of Fillings:

If you are wondering, ” Does whitening harm teeth?” while having dental fillings, the answer will be yes. Teeth whitening can discolor teeth when you have dental fillings or prosthetic replacements. This is usually seen in amalgam fillings. Bleaching agents can cause mercury leaching when in contact with amalgam fillings. Inform your dentist beforehand about any restorative treatments to prevent this. 

Uneven Whitening:

Uneven whitening is also a possibility. It can happen due to inconsistent whitening solution application, enamel thickness variations, and varying degrees of staining. Most shade irregularities can be corrected with multiple sessions. Ensure uniform application and address any underlying dental issues for even whitening results. 

How to Whiten Teeth Safely?

There are several ways to whiten teeth, some safer than others. You can get your teeth whitened professionally by a dentist or whiten them at home using at-home teeth whitening kits. If you are concerned about side effects from bleaching teeth, here are a few steps to ensure safety.

  • Before any procedure, visit a dentist and ask him, “Is teeth whitening safe for me?”
  • If you have intrinsic discoloration, do not try to whiten it at home. Talk to a dentist. They may whiten it in their clinic or provide you with a custom tray for maximum efficiency. 
  • Opt for over-the-counter whitening toothpaste and gels if you have minor extrinsic discoloration. These products contain abrasives and a chemical blue covering, which protect your teeth from the adverse effects of peroxides. However, some damage is still associated with abrasives. 
  • Before using any whitening product, ensure it has the American Dental Association’s Seal of Acceptance. 
  • Follow the instructions carefully. If you feel sensitivity or irritation in your gums, take a break or switch to a lighter product.

How to Maintain Whitened Teeth?

Once you are done with the whitening treatment, follow these instructions to maintain the brightness of your teeth. 

  • Avoid eating hot or cold foods immediately after treatment to prevent sensitivity. 
  • Avoid beverages known to discolor teeth for 48 hours at least, like tea, coffee, red wine, etc. 
  • Brush and floss regularly. 
  • Rinse your mouth after every meal to avoid plaque buildup and discoloration.
  • Schedule routine check-ups with your dentist to maintain and retouch the shine of your teeth.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

The life of a teeth whitening treatment depends upon the procedure you opt for. Professional whitening treatments can last from 6 months up to 3 years. On the other hand, over-the-counter procedures work for several weeks or months. Regular use of whitening toothpaste can keep your teeth white for longer. However, it depends on your diet, oral hygiene, and lifestyle choices. 

Conclusion

Through this guide, we hope to answer the common question, “Is teeth whitening safe?” Teeth whitening, if done correctly, does not harm your teeth. We understand if you are concerned about whether whitening teeth damages enamel. However, the risks are significantly reduced if you follow protocol and guidelines.

Contact us now to book a consultation with our teeth whitening expert in Newton, NJ. They will effectively handle all your concerns about the procedure. We at Blairstown Smile Studio offer professional teeth whitening in Blairstown, NJ.