Our patients often wonder if whitening their teeth can cause any damage to their smile. Here, our Abbotsford dentists provide information on the safety of teeth whitening to reassure those looking for a brighter smile that whitening does not harm your teeth.
Why whiten your teeth?
Over time, teeth can become stained and lose their white appearance. There are many reasons this can happen, including the natural aging process, smoking, consuming dark coloured beverages, and even some medications. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure that many patients find can increase their confidence by helping them put their brightest, whitest smile forward.
What are the options for whitening teeth?
Whitening can be done in several different ways:
- In-office professional whitening by your dental hygienist, usually in one or two appointments
- At-home professional whitening with take-home kits from your dentist's office custom-made for you
- Over-the-counter products from a pharmacy, which are done without supervision by a dentist or a dental hygienist
How safe is it to whiten (bleach) my teeth?
Professional teeth whitening treatments, in most cases, are both safe and effective. Providing you follow the directions, over-the-counter products are also safe. Professional teeth whitening (both in-office and at-home versions) are normally overseen by a dental professional, therefore any issues that may arise can be handled before becoming more serious.
Generally speaking, professional treatment tends to be faster and more effective than over-the-counter whitening as we are able to use stronger whitening solutions. This could mean fewer treatments to achieve your desired result.
Be aware that professional at-home teeth whitening is a process that usually takes longer than in-office treatment. This is due to the amount of hydrogen peroxide being used. In-office treatments can use up to 43% hydrogen peroxide. This is because the dentist is there and can control the amount of hydrogen peroxide and how it is used.
Take-home treatments normally use around 5% of hydrogen peroxide. This means the treatment will take longer but has a lower risk when done without the supervision of a professional.
Over-whitening or whitening too frequently might cause damage to your teeth or gums, so you should speak to your dentist about what the right whitening schedule is for your smile.
Are there side effects to teeth whitening?
The most common side effect is temporary gum irritation if the solution comes into contact with your gums. Should this happen, any irritation will most likely subside shortly after the treatment. In the rare case that you notice any lingering or worsening side effects, you should contact your dentist right away.