Getting your teeth professionally whitened can provide much more dramatic results than doing it yourself with products you find over the counter. But is teeth whitening really safe?
The answer is yes. In this post, our providers at Dental Art of South Bay explain what you need to know about this popular procedure.
How your teeth get stained
Your teeth don’t usually start out with stains. Instead, you develop stains over time, usually as a result of bad habits. Some of the habits that can lead to stained teeth include:
- Drinking wine (especially red wine)
- Drinking coffee or tea
- Eating staining foods, such as berries or foods with artificial colors
However, you can also have internal staining, which means that the dentin inside your teeth is naturally darker. This condition is usually not something that you can control or prevent. It may result from taking certain medications, childhood illness, infections, tooth trauma, or aging.
If the dentin is stained inside your teeth, we can try teeth whitening. But if you do not achieve the results you want, you’re not stuck with your stained teeth. We can still get the results you want with other treatments, such as dental veneers.
Safe options for professional tooth whitening
When it comes to whitening your teeth, you have several options. Getting your teeth whitened by a dentist produces much more effective results than doing it by yourself with products that are available over the counter. The bleaching chemicals are usually hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which break up the stains on your teeth and are known to be safe.
The dentist will discuss with you the best options for whitening your teeth. This may include one of the following:
With this option, you get your tooth whitening done by a dentist in their office. In this process, you have a high intensity of bleaching chemicals applied to your teeth. Often, we can apply chemicals along with using a Zoom!® laser to “cure” the chemicals and make them work more effectively.
The advantage of getting your teeth whitened in a dentist’s office is that it’s often much quicker. You may be able to get results in as little as an hour and may only need a couple of sessions.
With this option, the dentist gives you custom-made trays filled with whitening chemicals to take home. You will be directed to wear the trays for 30 minutes to an hour for up to 2 weeks.
How tooth whitening works
You and your dentist decide together which option is best for you. In-office treatments are usually recommended if you have receding gums or a loss of tooth structure (called abfraction lesions).
There are over-the-counter treatments available as well, such as whitening toothpaste or strips with weaker concentrations of bleaching chemicals. These are usually not sufficient to achieve significant results in themselves, but they may help you maintain your results after professional whitening.
What to expect after treatment
Tooth whitening is considered very safe overall, with any discomforts only lasting for a short period of time.
Although you may experience some tooth sensitivity after whitening your teeth, this is usually temporary. We usually recommend shorter periods of whitening with more intense chemicals as opposed to longer periods with weaker concentrations of whitening chemicals.
You may also experience irritation to your gums, which is also temporary.
Cosmetic dentistry has many options available to transform your smile. If you would like to have a consultation about what we can do for you, contact the providers at Dental Art of South Bay in Torrance, California, today or request an appointment online.