As admirable as it is to have perfectly white teeth, it’s a standard most people can’t meet naturally. The solution—teeth-whitening procedures—has become quite popular and effective to boot. But if you’re thinking of getting your teeth whitened, consider the risks. Here are the most prominent ones.
1. Your Teeth Are More Sensitive
Whitening your teeth requires chemicals like bleach and carbamide peroxide. Because you’re applying chemicals to your teeth, don’t be surprised if they feel more sensitive—whether to the temperature or texture of foods. These chemicals won’t damage the nerves in your teeth; they might just rub against your enamel, which is the protective layer of your teeth.
2. You Experience Pain in Your Gums
Ideally, these chemicals only touch your teeth, but sometimes they ride up a little higher and get onto your gums. If so, your gums might swell or wear down. But the pain in them shouldn’t last far past the procedure.
3. Your Enamel Weakens
The downside to teeth whitening is that the effects aren’t permanent. To maintain whiter teeth, you usually need to keep going back for another procedure every few months, depending on how you treat your teeth. If you avoid foods that stain your teeth, they’ll stay whiter longer—lasting up to a year or more. But if not, you may have to get them whitened as soon as a few weeks after the initial procedure.
Because whitening procedures are so frequent, the chemicals can wear down your enamel and weaken your teeth in general.
4. Your Teeth Become Discolored
Another con of whitening your teeth frequently is doing permanent damage to their color by wearing down the enamel. When your enamel wears down and layers underneath it get stained, there is little you can do to whiten them. So don’t overdo it and risk your teeth looking worse than they naturally would!
If You Do Choose to Whiten Your Teeth . . .
If you’ve decided the risks are worth it and want to move forward, make sure you:
- Consult your dentist beforehand. Ask for a professional opinion about how whitening would personally affect your teeth. A cosmetic dentist in Toronto, Tallahassee, and everywhere in between will have plenty of experience and give you solid advice for this procedure.
- Choose a procedure or product that will whiten your teeth safely. If you’d prefer to whiten your teeth at home, choose a solution with 15% or less of carbamide peroxide. Again, this chemical whitens your teeth but can harm them in the process. A small amount will get the job done without causing irreversible damage.
- Don’t overdo it. Remember that whitening effects can last up to a year, so don’t treat your teeth more frequently than that. Whitening them too often will cause permanent damage to your oral health.
- Avoid foods that will stain your teeth. In between whitening methods, give your teeth their best chance and avoid:
- Tea and alcohol.
The good news is that the risks of teeth whitening are fairly minor. Most people can treat their teeth without experiencing harmful side effects. So if you’d like to brighten your smile, research any concerns you have and take care of your teeth in between procedures. If you do, you can feel more confident in your appearance, as well as confident in your oral health.
Candice Harding enjoys writing about health and dentistry, as well as the great products she finds online. She recommends Toothworks to anyone looking for cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening. When she’s away from the computer, she loves riding her bike and exploring the outdoors. She scours the Internet for quality deals to publish on her website, myredbicycle.com.