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Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

May 21, 2024

No one wants their smile to be remembered for its yellowish tint. As we get older, our smiles tend to lose their brightness and can look a little dull. Certain foods, drinks, and smoking can leave stains that take away from our smile's natural radiance.

That's where the decision between using at-home teeth whitening products like strips and gels versus going for professional whitening treatments by a dentist becomes important. It leads us to ask: Is teeth whitening safe? While these options have become popular for brightening smiles, it's worth thinking about their safety before diving in.

What are the Teeth Whitening Options?

When it comes to brightening your smile, there are quite a few options out there, and it's normal to think, Is teeth Whitening Safe and effective?

Basically, there are three main ways to whiten your teeth:

  1. Professional treatments administered by your dentist
  2. Take-home kits prescribed by your dentist
  3. Over-the-counter products or DIY remedies made at home without professional supervision

Which method you choose might depend on things like:

  • How stained or discolored your teeth are
  • How much you're willing to spend
  • Whether you prefer to do the treatment yourself or have it done professionally
  • If you're dealing with kids, age matters too
  • Your dental history, like whether you have fillings or crowns

Talking with your dentist before you decide is a smart move. They can guide you toward the best option for your situation. Together, you can figure out the most effective and safest way to get your teeth shining bright again.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe if done by a Dentist?

Your dentist has different ways to whiten your teeth, whether you're at their office or doing it at home. They usually use methods that involve bleaching your teeth with carbamide peroxide. This compound breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, which then work together to change the color of your teeth through a chemical process. It's a safe and commonly used method for whitening teeth.

In-office treatment

Getting your teeth whitened in the dentist's office can be a real time-saver. The treatment is fast, and the results stick around longer. You might only need an hour-long session or a few visits to see a noticeable difference. This is because the whitening products they use have a higher hydrogen peroxide concentration than what you'd use at home. Plus, in-office treatments are often recommended if you've got receding gums or abfraction lesions.

Sometimes, dentists use special lights during the treatment to speed up the process, but this extra step doesn't always guarantee better results.

At-home treatment through the dentist

Your dentist can also help you with a whitening kit at home. They'll make custom trays that fit your mouth perfectly. You just add a bit of gel to the trays and wear them for at least 30 minutes to an hour each day (as per your dentist's instructions) for a few weeks to get that dazzling smile.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe to Do at Home?Is Teeth Whitening Safe to Do at Home

If you're dealing with stained teeth, you can grab some over-the-counter (OTC) whitening products. These are different from what dentists use because they usually have less or no carbamide peroxide. That might mean they take a bit longer to work, especially if your teeth are deeply discolored.

Some OTC products proudly display the American Dental Association's Seal of Acceptance. While not having this seal doesn't automatically mean a product is bad, seeing it can give you more confidence in what you're buying and assure you it's safe to use.

Just be sure to read and follow the instructions that come with any whitening product you use.

Whitening toothpastes

Whitening toothpaste, skip the carbamide peroxide and instead focus on tackling the surface of your teeth using different ingredients like abrasives and a chemical called blue covering. They might not show results overnight, but those with blue covarine can make your teeth look brighter right after one brush by masking yellowness.

Whitening Strips

You can buy whitening strips without a prescription for your teeth. They have less hydrogen peroxide than what professionals use. You wear them once or twice daily for a specific time period, as directed by the manufacturer.

There are different brands of whitening strips available, each with different levels of bleaching agents.

Activated Charcoal and other at-home products

You might wonder about using DIY methods like activated charcoal to whiten your teeth. However, it's important to know that these methods aren't backed by scientific evidence for whitening teeth and should be talked about with a dentist before giving them a go. Using these methods without consulting a dentist first could potentially harm your teeth.

Is Teeth Whitening Worth it?

Wondering: Is Teeth Whitening safe? It can be a safe option if brightening your teeth is your goal, but consulting with a dentist and doing your homework beforehand is crucial.

Studies suggest that hydrogen peroxide-based products could potentially affect proteins in the dentin layer of your teeth, which is the hard tissue beneath the enamel surface.

Additionally, some research indicates that whitening products might cause roughening or softening of the tooth surface.

Any potential changes observed might be temporary and could revert once you stop using teeth whitening products. Even if changes persist, the long-term impact on tooth health remains unclear.

How to safely whiten your teeth?

The American Dental Association (ADA) also confirms the safety and effectiveness of hydrogen peroxide whiteners. If you choose to use them, here are some tips for safe usage:

Check for the ADA seal on whitening toothpaste and teeth-bleaching products. It means they've passed independent tests for safety and effectiveness.

Follow the instructions carefully. Some products are meant for once-daily use, while others can be used twice daily. Some are for a week, others for two—just stick to what the label says to protect your teeth.

Consult your dentist. "Ask if these products are right for you. They work best for yellowed or stained teeth due to aging, as well as food and drinks like coffee and red wine. But if your teeth are brown or gray, there might be underlying issues that whitening won't fix.

Listen to your teeth. Some people experience temporary sensitivity in their gums or teeth while using whitening products. It's usually not a sign of long-term damage, but it can be uncomfortable. If this happens, consider taking a break from whitening or switching to a gentler product. And don't forget to discuss it with your dentist for personalized advice.

Conclusion

Is Teeth Whitening Safe? Teeth whitening can be a safe and effective way to enhance your smile when done correctly and under professional guidance. Consulting with your dentist, following recommended guidelines, and using reputable products can help you achieve the brighter smile you desire without compromising your dental health.

Ready to brighten your smile safely? Contact Parkway Dental Care in Kissimmee, FL, for expert advice and treatments. New patients can book appointments online at Parkway Dental Care, Kissimmee, FL, or call (407) 635-1196. Existing patients can reach us at (407) 932-2273.

FAQ

Can teeth whitening damage enamel?

When done correctly, teeth whitening should not damage enamel. Professional supervision and following recommended guidelines are crucial for safety.

Are over-the-counter whitening products safe?

Many over-the-counter whitening products are safe when used as directed. However, consulting with a dentist ensures safety and effectiveness.

How long do teeth whitening results last?

Results vary based on individual habits and maintenance. Generally, professional whitening results can last from several months to a few years with proper care.

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Parkway Dental Care Kissimmee
1064 E Osceola Parkway
Kissimmee, FL 34744
New Patient: (407) 635-1196
Current Patient: (407) 932-2273
Avalon Commons Dental Care Orlando
14811 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32826
New Patient: (407) 606-7209
Current Patient: (​407) 601-4206
Avalon Commons Dental Care Orlando
14811 E. Colonial Dr. Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32826
New Patient: (407) 606-7209
Current Patient: (​407) 601-4206
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