Can Teeth Whitening Be Dangerous?

Person during professional teeth whitening procedure

 

If you’re afraid to show off those pearly whites because they’re looking pretty yellow, then you might be considering teeth whitening. This service helps brighten your smile and remove many stains that can detract from the beauty of your teeth. However, it’s also normal to ask whether whitening is safe and if there are any dangers associated with it. We’ll explore these questions in this blog, so keep reading to learn more!

What is Teeth Whitening?

Woman smiling after teeth whitening
Teeth whitening can help you smile more confidently with brighter, whiter teeth.

As you may have guessed, teeth whitening whitens and brightens your teeth for a more attractive, healthy-looking smile. Whitening involves using bleaching products, usually made of some type of peroxide, to remove stains from the surface of your teeth. These stains are usually due to things like tobacco use or drinking staining beverages like coffee, tea, or wine. Even if you don’t do these things, your teeth can still become stained over time due to plaque buildup and normal aging. Having good dental hygiene can reduce the stains that appear on your teeth over time, but it may not stop them completely. Teeth whitening aims to remove these to reveal a whiter smile you’re proud to show off. 

Teeth Whitening Options

If you’re considering whitening your teeth, then it’s important to know that there are several different options to choose from. Understanding each option as well as their pros and cons can help you decide what’s right for you. Here are some of the most common ways to whiten your teeth:

In-Office Whitening

In-office whitening involves visiting your dentist in Katy, TX and getting your teeth whitened right there in the chair. Because your dentist is applying the whitening agent and monitoring your teeth throughout the process, in-office treatments often use much more powerful whitening agents than other options. In-office teeth whitening is usually a quick procedure and can often produce more dramatic results and longer-lasting whitening. Depending on your exact circumstances, the dentist may also send you home with whitening products for maintenance treatments. 

Home Professional Whitening

This option is where you get whitening products from your dentist and use them at home. They are most commonly used as maintenance treatments after in-office teeth whitening, which is where you follow up at home on a regular basis to prevent stains from building up on your newly whitened teeth again. This generally involves using a custom made tray from your dentist and filling it with a whitening gel to apply it to your teeth. Your dentist in Katy, TX will give you instructions on how much to use, when to use it, and for how long. This option provides you with a monitored option without having to go into the dentist every time you want to whiten your teeth.

Over the Counter Whitening

If you’re considering teeth whitening, then you’ve probably noticed whitening products at your local drugstore. These can range from strips to gels that you apply to your teeth and can buy off the shelf without a prescription from your dentist. These are a more affordable option, but also need to be used with caution, as misuse can lead to serious issues with your teeth if you’re not careful. Even if you do choose to use over the counter teeth whitening products, you might want to get a checkup from your dentist in Katy, TX first. We’ll explain why in more depth in a later section, but know that if your teeth have any issues, whitening can make them worse.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Teeth whitening is generally safe. For most people, there are no major risks or issues with whitening your teeth. However, it’s still helpful to talk to your dentist about any risks based on your teeth and dental health. 

Any time you’re considering a dental treatment, it’s important to weigh the benefits against the risks. For teeth whitening, you probably know some of the benefits, which is why you might want this procedure. The benefits include having whiter teeth, a brighter smile, and improving your confidence. Just don’t forget to look at the risks of whitening your teeth as well. 

Risks of Teeth Whitening

As we mentioned, teeth whitening is generally considered safe. However, there are some risks to be aware of before you get whitening. One of the first risks is that it may not work as well as you expect. Teeth whitening works really well for extrinsic stains, which are stains that affect the surface of the tooth. These are caused by things like plaque and tartar buildup, tea, coffee, wine, and tobacco. However, you also can have intrinsic stains, which are mostly due to genetics, medications, childhood illnesses, or even overuse of fluoride. These are below the surface of the tooth and are more difficult to whiten. One risk is that you may not get the results you want because your teeth have significant intrinsic staining. 

Another issue that may occur is sensitivity. Sensitivity after tooth whitening is usually temporary and not necessarily a sign of damage. However, it can be really uncomfortable for some people. If you’re concerned about sensitivity, then you need to consider this before whitening your teeth. 

When used incorrectly, teeth whitening products can cause damage to your teeth and gums. For instance, if misused or overused, whitening products can lead to tooth demineralization, tooth softening, enamel erosion, and gum irritation. Some research shows that whitening your teeth incorrectly or too much can even make restorations like fillings and crowns deteriorate faster. In some cases, it can even increase your risk for permanent sensitivity, decay, and even damaged gum cells. 

Why Visit Your Dentist in Katy, TX Before Whitening?

Before getting teeth whitening, make sure you visit your family dentistry professional for a checkup and to ask whether teeth whitening is right for you. Your dentist can help you determine if you can whiten your teeth and the safest options to do so. 

Another reason to get a dental exam before whitening your teeth is to check for any dental health issues. For instance, if you have untreated cavities, severely worn enamel, or exposed tooth roots, using whitening products can cause damage and may be painful. Your dentist in Katy, TX can check for these issues and treat them if needed before you whiten your teeth. 

The ToothBooth: Your Source for Family Dentistry Solutions in Katy, TX

Our team at The ToothBooth Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is here to help you take care of your smile. We help with everything from normal checkups, full mouth restorations, to cosmetic procedures like whitening to help you keep your smile healthy and looking great. Dr. Taha, our experienced dentist, provides knowledgeable, skilled dental treatments in a warm, welcoming environment. Call us today at (832) 437-0841 to schedule an appointment!