The dangers of teeth whitening products
Teeth whitening is a very popular cosmetic procedure – so popular, in fact, that around 90% of patients have either had it done, or inquired about it. The procedure is best undertaken by a dentist, or by a dental hygienist under guidance from a dentist. Self-bleaching or home kits can be dangerous.
Using a bleaching agent, the procedure will lighten your existing teeth colour by several shades.
Bright smiles and white teeth don’t happen overnight. Patients require several visits over a period of a few months.
According to the NHS.UK, an impression is made of your teeth to create a mouthguard.
The dentist provides a bleaching gel that you have to apply to your mouthguard at home for a recommended time every day over two to four weeks. However, it is possible to use a gel that can sit on your teeth for up to eight hours for a shorter treatment period of a week.
Dentists can also do laser whitening or power whitening, which requires them to paint the bleaching product on your teeth. They then use a laser or light to activate the whitening process, which takes about an hour.
It doesn’t last forever.
For some people, the whites won’t be that white depending on the state of their teeth – the number of stains and the type of bleaching process used. If you eat and drink foods that cause staining, the whiteness may fade within a month.
Teeth whitening is not a permanent solution and may last anything from a few months to 3 years.
If you use the over-the-counter peroxide-based whitening kits at home or the treatments offered by beauty salons, the whitening will fade even faster.
The NHS warns that whitening offered at a beauty salon is considered illegal in some countries. Only treatments done by dental professionals are regulated to provide this cosmetic dental service.
The teeth whitening systems won’t work if you have dentures, crowns, fillings or veneers.
WebMD reports that whitening works best on healthy gums and teeth, with no restored teeth.
Speak to your dentist, urges American Dental Association. Do research before you try any whitening at home, whether it is with whitening toothpaste, gels, rinses and strips, as none of these products works if you have extensive restorations, very dark stains or a single dark tooth.
The side effects
According to Crossland Dental, bleaching or whitening teeth systems can cause discomfort and pain.
These are the most common side effects which may occur following a teeth whitening procedure:
- Increase in teeth sensitivity: inform your dentist of any sensitivity, pain or discomfort you usually experience when eating certain foods and drinks. You will experience similar pain or discomfort when applying the bleaching solution to your teeth. The dentist may recommend a special toothpaste to reduce any risks of sensitivity should you decide to go ahead with the procedure.
- Post-whitening sensitivity to hot and cold: You may become hypersensitive to hot and cold food or drink following the procedure. This is normal and reduces discomfort with toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
- Post-whitening tingling sensations: the bleaching agent may cause a series of tingling sensations like mini electric shocks after the whitening. Report when and where the sensations occurred to your dentist
- Inflammation in the teeth: bleaching and whitening could cause inflammation in the pulp of your teeth. This is especially true if there are tiny cracks or breakages in the teeth enamel.
- Soft tissue irritation: irritation or burning may occur if the bleaching solution touches your skin, gums, or lips. You should inform your dentist immediately and flush the affected area with water.
- Throat or stomach pains: just like the toothpaste, you should avoid swallowing bleaching agents during your procedure as you are likely to experience throat irritation and irritation to your stomach lining. This may lead to serious medical complications for some people.
Although the side-effect should fade within two days, should the symptoms persist, report to your dentist and see your doctor immediately.
Before opting for teeth whitening, instead, get a thorough cleaning, and that may be all you need to restore your smile. Ensure that the dentist does a mouth exam with the cleaning, including X-rays and checking for cavities and gum health.
Repeat this check-up, clean at least once a year, and stick to a daily oral hygiene routine. Brush twice a day with your regular toothpaste, floss and rinse daily with a mouthwash that kills plaque-causing bacteria. And brushing with teeth whitening toothpaste once or twice a week should remove surface stains and yellowing.
Or, instead of or using a rinse and teeth whitening toothpaste, you can rinse daily with all-natural coconut oil to prevent plaque build-up. This method also brightens the smile.
And if you do indulge in staining foods and drinks that are brightly coloured and contain acids, caffeine and tannins, rinse and brush immediately afterwards.
Affinity Dental’s three tiers of dental insurance that covers individual specialist work.
Adults and children need to visit the dentist at least twice a year, and these dental maintenance appointments can start to add up. Dental insurance will cover you for additional treatments such as crowns, root canals or fillings, whether done at the dentist or specialist practice.