Is Professional Teeth Whitening Safe?


Nowadays, most people are taking an active role in their healthcare. With just a few clicks, one can learn more about their medical conditions and read about the risks and benefits of their treatments. In the world of dental medicine, a cosmetic procedure rising in popularity, largely due to societal demands of a certain aesthetic, is teeth whitening.

The scenario seems straightforward. A patient wants to brighten their smile by whitening their teeth. However, there looms the ever-present question of safety. Is the treatment safe? Let’s discuss teeth whitening a bit more; then, you can decide whether it’s a treatment you want to have done. In this blog, you’ll learn if teeth whitening is a safer option for you so you can be relaxed and comfortable during the treatment.

What Is Professional Teeth Whitening?

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In teeth whitening, the tooth structures mainly involved are the two outer layers: the enamel and the dentin. The tooth enamel is the hardest and outermost layer of the tooth. Directly underneath the enamel lies the dentin. This second layer is slightly yellowish compared to the typically white hue of the enamel.

Professional teeth whitening refers to bleaching a tooth using hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. Typically, the peroxide penetrates through the hard enamel to lighten the colour of the underlying dentin layer. This results in an overall whiter appearance of the tooth. All this happens under the close supervision of a professional dentist. There are two main treatment choices for tooth whitening:

  • In-Office Whitening Treatment
    This type of whitening treatment is performed by a dental professional and typically uses a highly concentrated peroxide gel. This is applied to your teeth in short intervals to whiten the tooth surface. A special light is also directed toward the gel to speed up the bleaching process. Procedures like a thorough cleaning are done to prepare the mouth for the treatment. Precautions may include a rubber dam to protect the gums from the whitening gel.

    Typically, this treatment yields the most dramatic results by whitening teeth by 2 to 8 shades lighter. Stubborn surface stains may require a secondary session. Your dentist may also give a take-home whitening kit to continue the treatment plan.

  • Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
    A take-home whitening kit from your dentist is a safe way to whiten your teeth in the comfort of your home and on your own time. A professional-grade teeth whitening gel usually contains a lower concentration of peroxide than what is used at a dental clinic. The solution is applied to a custom-fitted tray that fits over your teeth. This is worn every day for several hours, and the subsequent results are achieved over time.

    Due to the lower concentration of peroxide, the solution is safe for you to use at home when following the bleaching procedure instructions. The main drawback is that results are not as immediately drastic as that of a treatment done by your dentist at the clinic.

Does The Teeth Whitening Treatment Hurt?

Technically, professionally done teeth whitening treatment should not be painful. With the use of the proper equipment and precautions, not only is the treatment pain-free and safe, but it can also give you a whiter smile. During the teeth whitening treatment, you may feel a little sensitivity and discomfort. But there should generally be no sharp pain.

Is Teeth Whitening Harmful To Teeth?

Although safe, a professional tooth whitening treatment may also cause some negative side effects, like sensitive teeth and irritated gums. The tooth sensitivity is largely due to the exposure to the microtubules found in teeth. The bleaching solution’s temporary effect on the enamel is brought about by this. Mild gingival irritation can occur when the bleaching solution comes in contact with your gums during the treatment. This is why most dentists use a barrier to protect your gums from bleach. However, when used in controlled amounts and applied by a professional, teeth whitening should not be detrimental to your teeth or other oral structures.

What Questions Should You Ask When Getting Your Teeth Whitened?

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Information is key to making informed decisions. These are some questions you may want to ask your dentist:

  • Is Teeth Whitening Effective?
    Before any dental treatment, your dentist must determine whether it is necessary or advisable. Superficially stained teeth can be dealt with using traditional whitening treatments; however, discolouration from root canal issues, tooth decay, or other intrinsic stains may not be effectively treated with a tooth whitening procedure.

  • How Does Teeth Whitening Affect My Dental Work?
    Patients with dental crowns, bridges, or implants can experience staining like natural teeth. Suppose there are extrinsic stains on your dental work. In that case, you will have to ask your dentist how to best address this, as traditional teeth whitening treatments typically do not affect dental work. The colour is typically baked into ceramic crowns and other dental work, so the bleach does not whiten them.On the other hand, if you plan to have your natural teeth whitened, your dentist may advise you to hold off on getting permanent dental work until your real teeth have been whitened to the desired shade. Your dental work can then be colour-matched to them.

  • How Bright Can Bleaching Make My Teeth?
    Although teeth can be whitened drastically, patients must set realistic expectations. Extremely white teeth do not suit everyone. Your dentist can assist you in determining a goal shade of white that goes well with your complexion. Some dentists suggest matching the shade to the whites of a patient’s eyes. This gives off the impression of a natural shade of white.

  • How Long Do The Results Last?
    Typically, the results of a tooth whitening procedure can last for half a year to two years. The longevity of your results relies heavily on your lifestyle behaviours. Habits like smoking and drinking dark-coloured liquids can result in extrinsic stains on your teeth. Your dentist will go into depth with suggestions for lifestyle changes that can help preserve your results.

Who Can Undergo The Teeth Whitening Procedure?

The ideal candidates for professional teeth whitening are patients who have healthy gums and teeth. Teenagers younger than 13 years old may still have temporary teeth. It is advised to wait until a full set of adult teeth has fully erupted. This will minimize the number of preparatory office procedures needed prior to your teeth whitening treatment. In some cases, precautions need to be taken for patients who are pregnant or lactating.

Tips On How To Use Teeth Whitening Products Safely

When using take-home whitening kits, make sure to prepare your teeth for the treatment properly. This requires a thorough cleaning of your entire mouth. Try to avoid kinds of toothpaste that contain fluoride because it can deter the whitening effectivity of the active ingredient in the bleaching solution.

To avoid uneven whitening of your teeth, the proper prep of the discoloured teeth is essential. The application of the bleaching solution is equally important. Teeth whitening procedures done by your dentist offer the most even and drastic results. However, when using take-home whitening kits, you will need to be careful to place the bleaching solution or whitening strips properly. Remember that any surface area that is not covered by the bleaching agent will remain its current colour.

It is important to note the precautions that need to be taken when using at-home bleaching treatments. Primarily, you must ensure that the bleaching solution does not come in contact with your gums. This can cause gum irritation. You can cut the strips as necessary to address this issue. Secondly, even when using professional whitening kits from your dentist, you must observe the proper frequency of use. Whitening treatments tend to cause temporary sensitivity to your teeth to hot or cold food. Aggressive tooth bleaching that is applied too frequently can cause permanent damage to your tooth. Take care to adhere to the treatment protocol set by your dental team and alert them of any complications.

How Can I Make My Results Last Longer?

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With all the effort put into whitening your teeth, you’ll want to keep these pearly whites bright for as long as possible. Although discolouration does happen naturally, these are some ways you can make the treatment results last longer:

  1. Stay Away From Food Or Drink That Can Stain Teeth.
    One of the essentials of post-whitening upkeep is being more aware of what you put in your mouth. Certain acidic beverages like coffee, tea, and red wine are notorious for staining teeth. Some people choose to use a straw when drinking for the liquid to bypass the front of the teeth. This reduces the contact, which can help reduce the staining risk.

    The foods you make like to avoid initially include tomato-based sauces, soy sauce, and blueberries. Dark coloured or acidic food and drinks can also cause staining of your newly whitened teeth.

  2. Kick The Smoking Habit.
    Any dentist will tell you that smoking or chewing tobacco can ruin your teeth. In fact, it can cause a host of health and dental complications on top of staining your teeth.

  3. Maintain Healthy Dental Hygiene Habits.
    Teeth whitening treatments will give you the results you want, but it will be your dental hygiene habits that will determine the long-term results of your treatment. Ideally, it would help if you brushed your teeth after every meal to clean the tooth surfaces and the crevices between the teeth of food debris. However, if this proves too challenging with your busy schedule, brushing your teeth at least twice daily will suffice. You can use a whitening toothpaste to maintain its brightness and a soft toothbrush to avoid damaging the surface or surrounding tissue.

  4. Increase Water Intake.
    Aside from the hydrating benefits of increased water intake, it prevents the build-up of bacteria and food debris in the mouth. This prevents extrinsic stains. Additionally, plaque formation is also minimized.

  5. Keep Up With Regular Dental Cleanings.
    Remember to keep your dental care up to date by visiting your dentist every six months. Professional dental cleaning done regularly can aid in keeping your new white smile. Tartar and plaque are scraped from the tooth surface to avoid staining. Your dentist may also recommend a touch-up if there is staining present.

Final Thoughts

Teeth whitening is one of the most common cosmetic dental procedures available today. It can safely address most superficial stains on natural teeth. The whitening treatments provided in-clinic by your dentist offer the most drastic and immediate results; however, you can also use a professional take-home whitening kit to achieve similar results at a more gradual pace.

With proper application and observance of safety precautions, one can greatly improve the appearance of discoloured teeth. Achieve whiter teeth and a celebrity smile with professional teeth whitening treatments. Ask your dentist from Ellen Stirling Dental if you’re a candidate for teeth whitening today! We offer effective whitening treatment to give you whiter and brighter teeth in no time.

Disclaimer – Use At Your Own Risk:- The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as advice for any individual case or situation. Any action you take upon the information on these blogs is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses or damages in connection with the use of the information from these blogs.

Dr. Rachit Shah


Dr. Rachit Shah

Dr. Rachit Shah has a caring and holistic approach to your healthcare. He brings a gentle and modern approach to dentistry; one aimed to create a painless and anxiety-free experience whilst using conservative methods to create long-lasting and highly aesthetic smiles.

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