As with any procedure you would consider having done, you should be sure to ask questions if you’re considering having your teeth whitened. Teeth whitening has newly become very popular and accessible. It can be intimidating to try to find answers in a sea of information. Many people wonder if whitening is safe for their teeth and what risks they might encounter.
There are different kinds of teeth whitening and therefore different risks. There is in-office whitening that is administered professionally, there are professional kits you take home from the dentist, and there are over-the-counter whitening products. The main difference in these whitening methods is the strength of the chemicals used to whiten and also therefore, the amount of time it takes to whiten. Because much of the risk is associated with misuse or improper handling of the tools and chemicals, the method you choose will effectively determine the amount of risk posed.
Most commonly pain or irritation of the soft tissue are side effects. This occurs most often in the gums. An ill fitted take-home tray can make pain and irritation more likely. When you are in-office whitening, a professional is use a gel or rubber barrier to protect your gums from the high concentrate chemical. Although over-the-counter product are a lower concentration, they must be used multiple times to achieve the same result. For most people this type of irritation is temporary. If it is persistent, you should discontinue whitening and talk to your dentist.
There are esthetic risks also. It is possible that your teeth may not whiten evenly. If you have veneers or crowns, they will not be affected like your natural teeth and may affect the appearance of your smile. Of course, there is a risk that staining and darkening will reoccur. In fact, it is natural that teeth darken over time.
There are some circumstances in which it is considered unsafe to whiten your teeth. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should postpone whitening. If you have a crack, cavity, or loose filling, the whitening agent can possibly get inside to the pulp of the tooth and cause severe pain. In some cases this may result in needing a root canal.
A major problem with teeth whitening is overuse. If you are not using the product as directed and using them more frequently or for longer periods of time than as directed, you will be putting yourself at risk for pain or discomfort. Talking to your dentist is the best place to start once you decided to pursue teeth whitening. Your dentist can help you determine if you are a good candidate and what risk you might be more susceptible to. With proper guidance and proper attention to direction, teeth whitening can be a great and safe way to improve the appearance of your smile.