Teeth whitening treatments, both the “at-home kit variety” and the more professional laser-whitening service, are an extremely fast, easy and relatively inexpensive way to improve one’s looks, yet many still question the safety of a treatment that leaves some people’s teeth with increased sensitivity. “If it’s so safe, then why does it hurt afterward?” is a question we often hear from patients at our Glendale family dentistry office. “Are teeth whitening procedures actually damaging my teeth?”
The simple answer to this oft-asked question is: No, there is no medical evidence that teeth whitening, when done correctly, has any detrimental effects on tooth enamel, dentin, or gums.
Most whitening strips use hydrogen peroxide, a completely safe and non-toxic compound, to bleach the part of the tooth just beneath the enamel and temporarily change its color. And while the hydrogen peroxide may cause short-term sensitivity or tooth pain, it shouldn’t cause damage if used correctly. (Incorrect use, like leaving strips on for hours, however, may cause a breakdown of enamel). Simply rinsing with water will neutralize the strip’s active ingredients.
Like teeth whitening strips, laser teeth whitening also uses hydrogen peroxide to bleach teeth; during this form of whitening, low-powered diode lasers act as accelerating agents, increasing the hydrogen peroxide’s efficacy. Again, because hydrogen peroxide is not considered harmful to enamel, laser teeth whitening procedures have no detrimental effects, despite possible tooth sensitivity.
Though teeth whitening is generally regarded as safe, the doctors at Infinite Dental Wellness recommend speaking with your dental professional before spending money on expensive teeth-whitening procedures or at-home kits. Sometimes, discoloration is a results of tooth decay, rooth canal problems, or abscessed teeth, and not, as most people believe, from smoking or drinking coffee; in the rare cases, your dentist will probably recommend a different approach to tooth whitening.