Teeth whitening products are everywhere at the moment but the big question that patients are asking us on a regular basis is ‘is teeth whitening safe?’. There isn’t a definitive answer to this, because it depends on the brand and product that you use. At Infinity Dental Care we offer our patients professional teeth whitening treatments under the guidance of our experienced dentist, which ensures safe and effective results that last.
Why Do Teeth Become Discoloured?
Yellow or stained teeth come with age, and with lifestyle experiences. Tobacco products, dark beverages like cola and coffee and certain antidepressants can cause your teeth to lose their natural whiteness.
These are lifestyle factors that can probably be managed when you realise the effect they are having on your teeth.
The other factor that causes your teeth to change colour is simply ageing. As you get older, the dentin inside your teeth starts to change colour, and transitions from white to a yellow colour. If you have stains on your teeth from other lifestyle factors, it will exacerbate the effect.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
If you have ever tried a whitening gel, whitening strips or at-home kit you have probably been disappointed with the results. And that’s not surprising, because in order to reverse that discolouration the product can’t just sit on top of your tooth enamel – it has to penetrate it in order to get to the dentin.
That is what makes professional teeth whitening products effective – they can penetrate your tooth’s enamel by splitting into oxygen and water when they are activated. This enables them to lift the stained molecules to reveal a whiter, healthier smile. They can only do this because of the strength of the hydrogen peroxide they contain. Over-the-counter whitening products typically contain 3% hydrogen peroxide or less, because only your dentist may administer or dispense whitening treatments containing more than 6% of the bleaching agent.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
When performed under the correct guidance, following the manufacturer’s instructions, teeth whitening is safe.
Here are some further tips to ensure you have the safest whitening experience possible.
Safe amounts of hydrogen peroxide
The primary reason that dental practitioners must oversee and dispense whitening products containing more than 6% hydrogen peroxide is for safety. A patient who leaves their whitening gel on for too long runs the risk of causing damage to their tooth enamel or soft tissues. It can cause the tooth enamel to weaken and work against you rather than to your benefit.
Never be tempted to use a professional-grade whitening treatment, or to leave your at-home whitening system on for longer than recommended.
How safe is teeth whitening?
Because the bleaching agent is actually penetrating your teeth enamel it needs to offer some level of protection. Better known brands remineralise your teeth and protect your tooth enamel while they whiten, so they don’t do any damage.
Get the go-ahead from your dentist
It’s essential that you have a dental check up and professional clean before you do any type of whitening- whether in-chair or at home. Firstly your dentist needs to inspect the condition of your teeth and tooth enamel to ensure it is safe for you to whiten. Patients with decay or weak tooth enamel would first need to address their underlying issues before they could go ahead with whitening.
The second reason you should have a consultation with your dentist is that it ensures all traces of plaque and tartar are removed, and you can thus look forward to a much more even result.
Again, don’t be tempted to bypass your dentist because you could have an underlying issue that only a professional would detect, and you could make it much worse by whitening.
Use a reputable brand
There are countless whitening systems available on the market, all varying in price and accessibility. You do get what you pay for when it comes to whitening, and it is always worth using a well known brand and doing your research before making a purchase.
At Infinity Dental Care we use EPIC laser whitening because of their well documented track record of success. We know what results to expect and we can use their product confidently on our patients.
Manage Your Risk
While there is a small chance of something going wrong while whitening, if you are under the supervision of your dentist he or she can assist you immediately. If you are alone at home and something does go wrong, you’re on your own and will need to seek medical help.
Still wondering is teeth whitening safe? Contact our practice and speak to a professional about your safety concerns: (02) 8073 9378