Tooth Whitening: Is It Safe?

Dentist Blog

Everyone wants whiter teeth. If your teeth are yellowed and stained from coffee or just natural aging, you might be looking into whitening options. But there's a big question that's probably lingering in your mind: is it safe? What whitening treatments are safe, and how do you ensure their safety? Take a look.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes are one of the easiest options you can choose for tooth whitening, since you don't have to change a thing about your daily routine other than using a different toothpaste. Whitening toothpastes can whiten your teeth a shade or two. They usually contain some abrasives, like baking soda, to rub surface stains off your teeth. They may also contain a small amount of a mild bleaching agent, like peroxide. Since these toothpastes are so mild, they are safe for almost everyone and are a good place to start if you're worried about stronger whitening agents. 

Whitening Strips

Another option you might look into is whitening strips. These strips contain a bleaching agent—usually hydrogen peroxide. You push them onto your teeth and let them "work their magic" for about 20 minutes a day. These strips are quite safe, but only if you use them as directed. Using them for longer than recommended or multiple times per day can cause tooth sensitivity. If the strips come into direct contact with your gums, they may also lead to gum soreness. Read the label carefully before using whitening strips—and talk to your dentist before using your whitening strips if you have a history of tooth sensitivity or gum disease.

Whitening Kiosks at the Mall

What about those kiosks at the mall where you can stop and get your teeth whitened? Are they safe? Sadly, they may not be as safe as their advertising suggests. These kiosks don't tend to employ real dentists or dental hygienists, so you're not being treated by a qualified professional. Although the chemicals they use are generally milder than those you would encounter at a real dentist's office, they can still cause damage if applied improperly. Plus, if you suffer any side effects, there is no dentist there to evaluate your side effects and recommend a safer approach. If you're worried about the safety of tooth whitening, visiting a mall kiosk is not you best option. 

Laser Whitening

If you want dramatically whiter teeth, you may want to undergo laser whitening treatments in your dentist's office. Although the proposition of having lasers aimed at your teeth may sound a little unsafe, this is actually one of the safer approaches to whitening since it is administered by a dentist. Your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth before administering the treatment and will only administer it if doing so will be safe. Some patients experience mild sensitivity after a laser whitening treatment, but this goes away within a few days.

Whitening Trays

Another professional whitening option is to have your dentist design you specialized trays. You'll take these trays home and fill them with a whitening chemical solution provided by the dentist. Again, your dentist will only supply this treatment to you if he or she feels it is safe. However, since whitening trays are used at home, there is a slightly larger risk involved. You need to make sure you use the trays properly—don't leave them on for longer than recommended or use them multiple times per day. Otherwise, you could end up with enamel damage or sensitivity.

If you have any lingering concerns about the safety of anyone whitening treatment, talk to your dentist. They can point you in the direction of a treatment that's right for you.


21 September 2018

Understanding Dental Problems

Do you have "bad teeth"? I do. Ever since I was a kid, every checkup turns up a number of issues ranging from cavities to dental fractures. It has always been frustrating to keep my smile in decent shape, which is one of the reasons I started focusing on understanding different dental problems. I wanted to know what I was getting into when I visited the doctor, so I began focusing on learning as much as I could. I wanted to create this blog all about dentistry so that other people could find out what to expect when they head to the dentist. Check it out!