Why Dental Care Is Important During PregnancyJuly 27, 2022
How To Take Care Of Baby’s First TeethAugust 30, 2022
If you wish for a brighter-looking smile, you may wonder, “are teeth whitening at the dentist safe?”
The answer is – absolutely yes! If you want to have your teeth whitened, a dentist’s office is the safest place to achieve your brightest smile.
Please keep in mind there are so many variables in oral health, so this article isn’t a substitute for individualized dental care. Only your dentist can determine whether you are a good candidate for tooth whitening. The American Dental Association considers professional tooth whitening treatments to be generally safe for most people. However, no single treatment is right for everyone.
The Potential Danger of At-Home Whitening Products
You may have tried to save money by doing DIY whitening at home. While this is usually safe for many people, it is riskier than whitening treatments under professional supervision.
The gel whitening strips you buy in the grocery store or drugstore use hydrogen peroxide to bleach the teeth. This method can be effective and fairly safe for some people. However, unless you first consult a dental professional, how do you know whether they are safe for you? How do you know how often you can safely use them and how long to leave them on your teeth?
Unfortunately, Science Daily reported that hydrogen peroxide could penetrate both the protective tooth enamel and the inner layer of dentin. It may damage the proteins within the dentin as well as contribute to damage to the tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your body and protects the sensitive nerves inside your teeth. If it wears down, you will notice increased sensitivity to temperatures and pain.
If you do opt for whitening strips and other over-the-counter whitening products, please do the following:
- Talk with your dentist first to determine whether your teeth are strong enough. Your dentist may suggest other alternatives, such as in-office whitening or professional quality take-home kits if they are appropriate for your teeth.
- If you purchase OTC whitening products, look for the American Dental Association seal of approval.
- Read the instructions carefully and follow them unless your dentist gives alternative instructions.
Keep in mind the safest and most effective tooth whitening and stain removal treatments are those where your dentist either administers the treatment or pre-clears it for you.
People are sometimes surprised to learn they are not always saving significant money when opting for home treatment, especially if the treatment leads to damage to the teeth or increased tooth sensitivity.
The Dangers of DIY Whitening Treatments
Avoid questionable DIY tooth whitening techniques you may see on social media even if they seem “natural.” In recent years TikTok, Snap, and Instagram influencers have popularized home charcoal tooth whitening. Many of these “treatments” are overly abrasive and weaken or wear down the tooth enamel. Even worse, some also involve using acidic ingredients that further weaken the tooth enamel.
If you are interested in trying a DIY natural home whitening technique, please speak with your dentist first to determine whether that technique is safe.
Why Your Dentist’s Office is Usually Your Best Option
If you want to whiten your teeth, see a dentist for advice. First, your dentist can help you determine whether your teeth and gums are healthy and strong enough for whitening. If not, your dentist may provide a treatment plan first to improve your dental health.
Second, they will inform you whether bleaching or whitening treatments would meet your needs. Certain kinds of stains may not respond well to whitening and may require different cosmetic dentistry options such as caps or veneers.
Sometimes people believe they need tooth whitening when really they have one or two discolored teeth. Those teeth may have been stained or discolored from trauma or medication. In this case, they would require internal bleaching, a technique different from the more common external tooth whitening.
In other words, your dentist will examine you to figure out whether tooth whitening would actually meet your needs.
Finally, if you would likely see good results from whitening, your dentist may recommend the best available treatment. Professional-quality home whitening trays are an option provided by many dentists. The key difference is that your dentist will first determine whether it is appropriate, fit the trays to your teeth, and advise you exactly how to use them.
While it may seem counterintuitive, there are fewer risks associated with custom-fitted whitening trays and professional quality products, especially when you learn to use them correctly. One problem with DIY products is that sometimes the user doesn’t see the results they want right away, so they repeat the treatment or leave the product on longer. This may lead to unnecessary damage.
If you have any issues like increased sensitivity, contact your dentist’s office. This is a common side effect, especially if you use whitening products too often. If you already have tooth sensitivity, discuss that with your dentist.
Maintain your results by remaining consistent with your oral hygiene. In other words,
- See your dentist twice a year for a professional cleaning and examination.
- Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste containing fluoride.
- Floss daily.
- Limit consuming foods and beverages that may stain your teeth, including coffee, red wine, sodas, and tomato sauce. Consume them only at meals where you can brush your teeth about thirty minutes after consuming them.
- Sip plain water throughout the day.
- If you smoke, quit.
- Follow your dentist’s advice about when to repeat the treatment.
Schedule an Appointment for Whiter Teeth
If you are interested in a brighter smile, contact your dentist or a local cosmetic dentist. Southview Dentistry offers general and cosmetic dentistry services to the Charlotte, NC, community.
If you live in or near Charlotte and want a radiant smile, contact us to learn more about our tooth whitening services. We love seeing our satisfied patients flash their pearly whites with confidence!
Contact us today to schedule your appointment.