The Risks of Teeth Whitening
By Patrick Casey on November 10, 2013
In our coffee-loving culture, many people are bothered by dull, yellowed, or stained teeth. Even if you brush after each meal, floss every day, and have your teeth cleaned every six months, your teeth have probably aged over the years and may look stained or discolored. Cigarettes, coffee, and certain medications can add years onto the appearance of your teeth, which can make you feel self-conscious at work and in social situations.
To achieve a more youthful, brilliant, and healthy-looking smile, many people seek teeth whitening treatments. Although professional teeth whitening at our Montreal practice offers the safest, most effective, and longest-lasting option for whitening the teeth, it does have some minimal risks.
Teeth Whitening Solutions and Risks
With our in-office one-hour whitening treatment or our take-home whitening kit, the results are dramatic - in some cases whitening up to eight shades. Both treatment options, as well as over-the-counter products you can buy at the drug store, often result in two temporary side effects:
- Tooth sensitivity
- Gum irritation
Generally, these side effects go away in one to three days after completing the treatment. We take extra precautions at our practice to help ensure your procedure is as successful and comfortable as possible.
Reducing Tooth Sensitivity
The most common side effect of teeth whitening is a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity. During and shortly after the whitening treatment, your teeth may feel more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. This symptom is natural and usually subsides within a few days.
To prevent or reduce the amount of sensitivity you will experience from whitening treatments at our office, we will check for sensitivities before starting your procedure and adjust our plan accordingly. Our cosmetic dentist can apply a de-sensitizing product before and after your treatment. We may also recommend that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a special toothpaste that helps soothe sensitive teeth for a few days or weeks, depending on your needs.
If you have extremely sensitive teeth, we may recommend porcelain veneers instead of teeth whitening.
Reducing Gum Irritation
The other side effect some patients experience is mild irritation of the gums and other tissues inside the mouth. With over-the-counter products, the risk of irritation is slightly higher. Drug store products usually don't have customized whitening trays that fit your teeth well, which means the bleaching agent can leak out onto your gums. To minimize this risk at our office, we first cover your lips and gums to protect them from irritation during the procedure. If you have tooth enamel erosion or gum disease, we may advise against teeth whitening and recommend another cosmetic enhancement instead.
Benefits of Teeth Whitening
In contrast to the minimal and temporary risks of teeth whitening, the benefits are incredible and long-lasting, including:
- Quicker treatments than over-the-counter products
- Longer-lasting, dramatic results
- Customized treatment plans for your concerns and goals
- Expert supervision to reduce sensitivities or irritations
Learn More about Teeth Whitening
At Smile Montreal, our teeth whitening treatments can drastically enhance the appearance of your smile, increasing your self-confidence and possibly improving how you are perceived by others. If you're interested in learning about our in-office or take-home treatment options, we invite you to schedule a consultation.
Related to This
“I felt more like I was talking to a friend than I was to a dentist.” Nancy Lanzolla, Former Patient