Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Tooth whitening is a process which removes stains from your teeth and gives them a clean shine. It is a popular cosmetic procedure that can make a big improvement on how your teeth look. The procedure is usually performed by dentists, but it can also be done at home.
How Teeth Whitening Works
The outer coating of your teeth is called enamel. It is the part of your tooth that protects the inner tooth and it tends to become discolored over time.
Every day, a thin coating forms on the enamel and it is very easily stained. The tooth enamel contains pores which are also able to hold stains that are difficult to remove with your daily brushing. Some of the most common causes of staining include:
- Smoking tobacco,
- Drinking dark and sugary substances such as coffee, red wine, soda and tea,
- Poor dental hygiene.
Teeth whitening processes work to bleach or clean the stains off of the enamel. The most popular forms of teeth whitening are whitening pens, whitening gel kits, and whitening strips. The type of teeth whitening procedure that will work best for you depends on:
- What caused the staining,
- How much the procedure costs,
- The patient's age,
- Whether you have any fillings or crowns.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Teeth whitening is considered to be a safe process as long as you do it properly. Chemists would not be able to sell at-home whitening options such as pens and gel kits if they weren't. You should still consult with your dentist before using at-home whitening products in case you have a condition which would put you at risk.
Your dentist will prescribe the best whitening procedure for you. If the dentist decides that you should get it done professionally, he/she will probably bleach your teeth using carbamide peroxide which will break down into hydrogen peroxide when it makes contact with your teeth. This is a very safe way to whiten your teeth.
As with any other dental procedure, there is a slight risk of contracting side effects.
Teeth sensitivity is the most likely side effect of using teeth whitening products. The sensitivity is strongest right after the procedure however it will not be an issue over time.
Your dentist may advise you to treat the sensitivity with sodium fluoride toothpaste and potassium nitrate.
Irritated gums are also a possibility. This is caused by the teeth whitening agent coming into contact with your gums. This side effect will go away soon after the treatment is completed.
Please note that teeth whitening is not permanent so you may need to repeat the process in the future. You can extend how long your teeth stay bright-white by practicing proper dental hygiene and avoiding foods that color your teeth.