Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
We all want to look our best. If you have staining, discolouration or yellowing teeth, you may feel self-conscious about your smile. However, before you reach for a teeth whitening solution from your local pharmacy or grocery store, it’s important to determine if teeth whitening is the right option for you.
For most people, teeth whitening is a safe solution for stained or discoloured teeth — as long as it’s done correctly. Most people don’t realize, however, that your teeth are live tissue. Whitening your teeth can cause sensitivity, pain or even damage when performed improperly. In this post, we’ll give you some tips to ensure you stay safe when whitening your teeth.
Speak to Your Dentist First
Before choosing any teeth whitening system, a proper dental examination should be your first step. Your dentist will help you determine the cause of your tooth discolouration and then advise you on the best whitening option for you.
Types of Tooth Discolouration
There are many different causes of teeth discolouration. Some staining is extrinsic or on the outer part of your teeth. Examples of this would be stains left behind by smoking or drinking dark beverages like wine or coffee. A good polish during your regular dental checkup is usually enough to get your teeth appearing whiter.
However, other stains are intrinsic, or discolouration that occurs within your teeth. Intrinsic discolouration could occur due to aging, infection or trauma to the tooth. In these cases, intrinsic whitening is needed, which actually lightens the dentin or inner part of your tooth using a whitening gel.
Teeth Whitening Is Not Right for Everyone
Everyone’s teeth are unique. Which means teeth whitening may not be the best option due to your individual circumstances. If any of the following apply to you, it’s crucial that you speak to your dentist before attempting to whiten your teeth on your own:
- Teeth or gum sensitivity
- Acid erosion
- Gum recession
- Sensitivity to hydrogen peroxide
- Tooth decay
- White spot decalcifications, which could indicate an early cavity
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Minor under the age of 18
Best Teeth Whitening Method
There are a variety of teeth whitening methods available. In fact, as it gets more popular, more and more teeth whitening products are becoming readily accessible. Unfortunately, not all methods work, and some are downright unsafe. If you are hoping to whiten your teeth, here are some of the options you may encounter:
- Whitening toothpaste
- Whitening strips
- Methods using laser technology, LED or UV light
- Activated charcoal
These whitening methods have varying results. The best way to whiten your teeth is with a professional whitening kit provided by your dentist. When you visit your teeth whitening dentist, they will take an impression of your teeth, which is then used to create a custom whitening tray fitted to your mouth’s unique shape so as to keep the whitening gel in place. Be sure to follow your dentist’s detailed safety instructions as this will ensure your teeth do not become damaged.
What You Should Know Before Whitening Your Teeth
Although teeth whitening is relatively safe when done under the supervision of your dentist, there are a few considerations you should keep in mind:
- Ensure your teeth are healthy before starting the whitening process.
- Be prepared for tooth sensitivity, which is a common side effect.
- Whitening gel can irritate the soft tissue of your mouth, like your gums.
- If using a whitening tray, make sure it’s customized to your mouth to keep the whitening gel from touching your gums.
- Results vary from person to person.
- Over-whitening, such as using too much whitening gel or reapplying it too often, can lead to permanent tooth damage.
Contact Alpen Dental to Find out More About Safe Teeth Whitening Options
Teeth whitening can be safe, as long as you take it slow, work with a dentist you trust and use your whitening kit as directed. At Alpen Dental, we offer professional teeth whitening options for our patients.