Teeth whitening options are on every corner and everyone wants a sparkling Hollywood smile. But not everyone is swayed immediately. Some pause, thinking: I wonder what could go wrong?
For most people, teeth whitening is a popular and safe option for dramatically improving their appearance. But everyone still needs to be aware of what to do before and after the procedure.
Dentist David Redford in Denver understands concerns about teeth whitening risks. Though teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic treatments, there are side effects that need to be managed. Dr. Redford customizes his whitening treatments to individual needs and sensitivities to ensure the whitest smile with the fewest complications.
Whitening Side Effects
The two most common side effects, both usually temporary, are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.
- Tooth Sensitivity. The whitening agent can cause a temporary sensitivity in your teeth, usually in response to hot and cold foods. This usually disappears in 24 hours. If your teeth are particularly sensitive, Dr. Redford can modify the treatment to meet your needs.
- Gum Irritation. If the whitening agent touches the gums, it can cause irritation, including white spots. The discomfort depends on how long the peroxide sits on the gums, but typically the irritation is gone in 24 hours. Your dentist will take extra steps during in-office treatment to prevent this. If you choose at-home treatment, custom trays for bleaching will be created from a mold of your own teeth, reducing the risk of gum irritation.
There are other, less common, side effects from teeth whitening:
- Uneven Whiteness. The whitening method can affect results.For example, generic whitening trays sold in over-the-counter kits don’t fit teeth precisely, making contact between teeth and the whitening gel uneven. When that happens, the whitening can also turn out uneven.
- Over-whitening. Teeth whitening has its limits. Some people get addicted to the bling and undergo treatment too often. Instead of getting whiter, their teeth turn translucent or grey. In addition, teeth may become brittle or the tooth enamel could be permanently destroyed.
Whitening Isn’t for Everyone
Though teeth whitening is safe for most people when directions are followed, it’s not for everyone.
- Pregnant or Nursing. No studies prove teeth whitening is dangerous for pregnant women, but it is better to be cautious. Whitening is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.
- Peroxide Allergies. If you are allergic to peroxide, the whitening agent, you should not whiten your teeth.
- Gum Disease, Exposed Roots, Worn Enamel. If you suffer from these conditions, your teeth could become more sensitive after whitening. Consult your dentist before proceeding.
- Cavities, Cracks, Loose Dental Work. Any crevice where whitening agent can seep into the interior of a tooth needs to be repaired to prevent damage to the tooth’s root, perhaps leading to root canal treatment.
- Restorations. The color of crowns, veneers, and other restorations is unaffected by tooth whitening. If your restorations match your teeth now, they won’t after you whiten your teeth.
- Deep Stains. Whitening will remove many stains, but not all of them. Your dentist can advise you of the types of stains that respond the best.
If you would like to know if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening, please call our offices.