Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Teeth Whitening Has Been Performed For Many Years Without Any Serious Damage to Gums or Teeth

As a responsible consumer of dental services, you should stay informed about any treatments you are considering. As a responsible provider of dental services, it’s my job to make sure you understand exactly what risks are involved when undergoing any dental treatment.

Although they are minor, there are a few adverse effects that can sometimes come with teeth whitening. Undesired effects of bleaching include:

Sensitivity to temperature and pressure is most likely to occur after in-office treatments, and usually with patients who have recessed gums or significant cracks in their enamel. Sensitivity generally lasts no more than one or two days after an in-office treatment. With take home whitening treatments, sensitivity usually does not last beyond the first week.

Gum Irritation
More than half of all patients experience some kind of gum irritation associated with the use of a peroxide bleaching agent. The irritation can be caused by the chemical reaction of the peroxide with the gums, or by the physical contact of the tray with the gums. Usually, irritation from the tray can be avoided with custom-fit trays. If the irritation is overly uncomfortable, the concentration of peroxide can be lowered, the trays can be adjusted, or it may be wise to take a break from bleaching.

Technicolor Teeth
If you have had dental restorations such as crowns, veneers, or bonding, you will want to consider the risk of “technicolor teeth” as these restorations do not respond to bleaching. This will leave your natural teeth looking a different shade than your restorations. We may want to plan on re-doing your restorations after the whitening procedure is complete to match your new smile.

Here’s what you can do to minimize any unwanted effects from teeth whitening:

  • Consult your dentist first. Even over the counter whitening products may damage your teeth if you are not a good candidate. Ask your dentist if you are at risk for any adverse effects.
  • Follow the instructions. You should always use any whitening product exactly as directed. Extreme overuse of bleaching agents can permanently damage your tooth’s enamel.
  • Choose professional treatment. The safest option is always teeth whitening performed by a trained dentist.

If you’ve decided that you are a good candidate for teeth whitening, or if you’re still not sure, contact me with questions, or click here to schedule a consultation. A brighter smile is closer than you think!
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