Teeth whitening is a great way to change your pearly yellows into pearly whites. But it’s not a one-off treatment process – teeth whitening is something you’ll need to do regularly to keep those teeth looking good. So, if you have to regularly expose your teeth and gums to the whitening solution, is it really a safe way to get a brighter and better-looking smile? Let’s find out.
Methods of teeth whitening
- There are three different ways you can choose to whiten your teeth, some safer than others:
- Your dentist will whiten your teeth in the dental chair
- Your dentist will provide whitening products for you to use at home
You can buy over the counter whitening products or try home remedies without the knowledge or input of your dentist
Is in-chair whitening safe?
While professional teeth whitening carried out by a dentist uses a higher concentration of whitening gel to get faster results, your dentist will make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with your gums or other soft surfaces of your mouth.
They’ll also be able to treat any oral health problems (such as decay or gum disease) first to ensure your whitening treatment doesn’t cause further issues.
In-chair whitening is considered to be the safest way to whiten your teeth. In fact, studies have suggested that in-chair whitening by a dentist can increase the strength of your tooth enamel, and make it more resistant to acid erosion.
Is at-home whitening safe?
At-home whitening, when carried out under the supervision of your dentist, is also considered quite safe. Your dentist will create whitening trays from impressions of your teeth that will allow even and safe coverage of your teeth with the whitening solution.
They will also guide you in how long and how often you need to wear the trays to achieve the results you want. As long as you follow these instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Is DIY whitening safe?
Buying over the counter or online whitening products is not considered to be nearly as safe as whitening treatments either performed by a dentist or overseen by a dentist.
Teeth whitening strips and gels available over the counter may play a role in damaging the dentin layer of the tooth. And if any whitening treatment is not used as directed, there’s a chance you’ll run into trouble. Extensive, long-term use without knowledgeable supervision by your dentist can have damaging effects on both your teeth and gums.
Signs of incorrect use
Many people adopt the “more is better” approach to teeth whitening, in a misguided attempt to get their teeth as white as possible for as long as possible.
If you’re not using the product as directed, there’s a good chance you’re going to cause problems such as enamel erosion, gum irritation, chemical burns, and extreme sensitivity, as well as making your teeth thin, translucent, weak, brittle and chalky over time. Signs of incorrect use include:
- Whitening your teeth too often
- Using too much of the whitening solution or product
- Not using safe and recognised whitening products
- Not treating your dental problems before whitening
When not done correctly and safely under the supervision of a dentist, teeth whitening can cause pain, sensitivity and damage. The only safe way to whiten your teeth is with the help of your dentist.
So, will regularly whitening your teeth under dental supervision cause damage to them in any way?
The short answer? No, it won’t. Teeth whitening is considered a very safe dental treatment when it is overseen by a qualified dentist. Teeth whitening treatments have been around for quite some time and have not been shown to increase the risk of problems such as tooth fractures or cavities.
If whitening treatments are used correctly – i.e. not too often or too much and as directed by your dentist, you shouldn’t encounter any problems.
Here’s how to whiten your teeth safely
- Make sure your whitening treatment is carried out in chair by a qualified dentist or at home under the supervision of a qualified dentist.
- Follow the instructions, and only use the whitening product as directed to best protect your teeth.
- If you’re unsure about anything, ask your dentist, even if you decide to use over the counter products at home. You may be attempting to use whitening treatments that aren’t suitable for you and won’t have any impact on your discoloured teeth. For instance, teeth showing brown or grey discolouration can’t be fixed with whitening treatments, which are only effective on yellowed or stained teeth. Your dentist will be able to advise you on what treatment is best for you, and ensure you are doing it correctly.
- Treat your dental problems first before attempting to whiten your teeth. Not doing so can lead to further problems and pain down the track.
- Change course if necessary. If you find your teeth are becoming sensitive or sore during whitening treatment, back off a little by changing to a milder product or taking a short break from the treatment. Side-effects like this are usually short-lived, but if you’re concerned it’s best to give it a break – and ask your dentist for advice.
- And the best method of all? Try to avoid stains in the first place. Limit consumption of stain-causing foods and drinks such as red wine, coffee, beetroot, blueberries etc. Don’t smoke, brush thoroughly twice a day, and have regular dental cleanings to remove stains and plaque.
As long as you stick to whitening methods supervised or approved by your dentist, teeth whitening is considered to be perfectly safe – and effective.
If you’d like to speak to a dentist highly qualified and experienced in the area of teeth whitening, get in contact with us here.