Is teeth whitening safe?

The more we age, the more we become self-conscious about our teeth and how they look when we flash a smile. For some people, the state of their teeth can have a great impact on their self-confidence, sometimes decreasing their performance at work and affecting their relationships. That’s when teeth whitening comes in. The vast number of over-the-counter whitening products on the market makes the demand for a whiter smile bigger. Many methods now exist to whiten your teeth. But is teeth whitening safe? In this article, we take you through everything you need to know.

Is teeth whitening safe?

When it comes to over-the-counter whitening products, they are generally safe to use. However, it is important to follow the instructions properly as using teeth whiteners more often or longer than recommended can lead to your enamel wearing down. Enamel is actually what keeps your teeth white. If too much of it is worn down, you are left with the inner part of the tooth - dentin - which is yellow or brown. Wearing down the enamel by misusing whitening products will lead to the dentin starting to show through and your whitening efforts going to vain. It is important to also consider your gums and avoid injuring them by applying the chemicals too high.

It is also recommended to choose products that have a seal of acceptance from the ADA to make teeth bleaching safe. Choosing products that require shorter exposure time and that have lower concentrations of chemicals is recommended.

If you feel some pain, it means you are overdoing it and you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
When it comes to in-clinic professional teeth whitening, it is also safe. The difference is that your dentist will use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide with a stronger concentration. This will take less time and lead to long-lasting results (teeth whitening last).

Both over-the-counter and in-clinic teeth whitening methods are generally safe. They differ in cost, which you can read everything about here (Teeth whitening cost).

Why do people say that whitening teeth is bad?

If you are wondering if it is bad to whiten your teeth, it might be because you’ve read or heard about some potential side effects of teeth whitening. Here is why people say that teeth whitening is bad for teeth and why they should rarely be taken into consideration.

- Hydrogen peroxide products might damage your teeth’s dentin layer proteins. Also, it is believed that whitening products might cause the surface of your teeth to soften or become more rough. These statements were made by some studies that were not actually done on real teeth, but in a lab. These side effects, should they happen, might be temporary and be reversed once the persons stops using the whitening products.

- Gum irritation can be caused by teeth whitening products. This is quite common, but if the product is used correctly by you or your dentist, this should disappear within a few days.

- Sensitive teeth is another side effect that is common when bleaching your teeth. This is due to the pulp’s inflammation when exposed to peroxide during the treatment period. It should also resolve on its own within a short period of time.

The side effects discussed above are common, but they do not mean that teeth whitening is bad for the teeth. It is still safe.

Is laser whitening safe for your teeth?

Laser whitening is effective (teeth whitening last), non-invasive and safe. It will not cause any damage to your teeth and is actually recommended by dentists. The only catch is its higher cost (teeth whitening cost) that is not covered by dental insurance.

Is cosmetic teeth whitening safe?

Cosmetic teeth whitening that is usually done by professionals or by properly following instructions is considered safe. While the side effects mentioned above can occur - especially teeth and gum sensitivity - they will diminish with time, leaving you with a brighter, shinier, and long-lasting smile (teeth whitening last).

What is the safest way to whiten teeth?

For complete teeth whitener safety, here are a few tips to follow:

1) On most whitening toothpastes and teeth bleaching products, you will find the ADA seal of approval. Make sure you buy products that are approved, as it means they are safe to use and have been found to be effective.

2) Make sure you properly follow the instructions on the product. This is important in order to protect your teeth.

3) Always schedule regular dentist visits and talk to your dentist about your teeth whitening plans. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether some products are better for you than others as they know your teeth and gums better.

4) Following your gut and what feels (or doesn’t feel!) right for you, is crucial. If you feel there is something wrong with your gums or teeth during teeth whitening treatment, make sure you stop and consult a professional.

What are the pros and cons of teeth whitening?

So is teeth whitening good or bad? Well, it all depends on many factors.  The state of your mouth, your oral hygiene habits, and your lifestyle, all play a role. Teeth whitening is not bad if done the right way and it can have effective results that last for a while (teeth whitening last). This certainly makes it worth their cost (teeth whitening cost).

Here is a list of teeth whitening pros and cons to give you a general idea and help with your decision:

Teeth whitening pros:

It doesn’t have to be costly. Over-the-counter products can be inexpensive and effective. Check everything you need to know about teeth whitening cost here (teeth whitening cost)). The choice of teeth whitening treatment is large! There are so many options to choose from, which makes it accessible to almost everyone. You will notice an increase in confidence as your teeth become whiter. A vibrant smile makes a huge difference!

Teeth whitening cons:

Teeth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. It should, however, fade away a few days after the treatment is over.
Teeth whitening treatments are not permanent. Depending on your lifestyle, teeth will go back to being yellower after a few months or years. You can read all about this here (teeth whitening last).
Your fillings or crowns will not change color as a teeth whitening treatment will not work on them. Your teeth may therefore look patchy depending on where you’ve had fillings and crowns.

Is teeth whitening bad for your teeth when done with home kits? 4 risks

When it comes to the question “is teeth whitening bad for teeth?”, there are some risks involved in the process. Below is a list that can make bleaching teeth go bad:

[Risk 1] - Chemical burns.

This occurs when the use of a mouth guard is required. At-home teeth whitening kits will sometimes ask you to fill a mouth guard with chemical gel and wear it for a certain period of time. This is when the gel could leak out of the mouth guard and cause serious chemical burns to your mouth or skin.

[Risk 2] - The damaging of tooth enamel.

Chemical strips used at home contain chroline dioxide, which could strip the enamel from the teeth, causing damage that is often irreparable.

[Risk 3] - Gum damage.

Some whitening kits contain more hydrogen peroxide than the recommended dose. This could lead to burning the soft tissue inside the mouth, increasing sensitivity and causing gum recession.

[Risk 4] - Mouth infections.

If you already have a small wound in the mouth, home whitening kits can cause chemical burns, leading to infections to already vulnerable wounds.

Who should not whiten teeth?

Like any oral procedure, it is best you get your teeth and mouth checked by your dentist beforehand. Some patients have a dental condition that would not allow them to go through teeth bleaching. For example, patients who have gum recession or highly sensitive root surfaces can experience irritation to the teeth and gums after using whitening products. Also, having fillings, crowns, or very dark stains require the proper whitening treatment followed by your dentist.

It is important to have the proper dental exam and x-rays before proceeding with any whitening treatment. It is not recommended whitening your teeth if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.

Final Points

Generally speaking, teeth whitening is safe. It is a cosmetic procedure that requires thorough examination by your dentist before starting it. When is it safe to whiten your teeth? If your teeth and gums are generally healthy, if you do not experience high teeth sensitivity, and if your dentist recommends the products or treatment you will be going through, it will only give you a bright smile that you can be proud of.

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