We all know the feeling of looking in the mirror or at a recent photo of our smiles and noticing that our teeth look a little… yellow. Stained teeth are incredibly common due to foods and drinks that dull our teeth. But you may still be staring at your smile, wishing it was brighter.
There are many options when it comes to whitening your teeth, but they don’t come without some minor risks. Read on to learn about teeth whitening side effects, as well as different whitening methods you can try.
Common Side Effects of Teeth Whitening
While teeth whitening is considered to be safe overall, some side effects can still occur. Using tooth whitening products may cause:
1) Tooth Sensitivity
The most common side effect of teeth whitening treatment is sensitivity. Your teeth may feel more sensitive after the whitening process. This could happen right away after the first treatment or after you’ve done a few treatments. Teeth sensitivity usually diminishes over time once the whitening process has ended. If the sensitivity persists, your dentist may recommend using products with potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride gel to lessen the sensitivity.
2) Irritated Gums
If the whitening product comes in contact with your gums, you may experience “gingival irritation” or irritated gums. This side effect almost always goes away after the whitening treatments are complete.
3) Allergic Reaction
Getting an allergic reaction from teeth whitening products is quite rare, but it isn’t impossible. If you’re allergic to peroxide (the bleaching agent), don’t use tooth whitening treatments.
4) Uneven Whitening
Bear in mind that composite materials used in dentistry do not take to whitening, such as:
If you use whitening gel on teeth with any of the above restorations, you’ll end up with uneven coloring. Teeth without restorations will lighten, while the others will remain the same color. One way to remedy this issue is to perform a teeth whitening procedure before getting any composite restorations. Your dentist will match the color of your restoration to whatever color your teeth are at the time of the appointment.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Yes, teeth whitening is considered to be a safe cosmetic procedure. However, as with any treatment, there are some risks involved. Be sure to talk to your dentist about any concerns you have before starting a teeth whitening treatment plan.
The American Dental Association (ADA) has issued a statement saying that “tooth whiteners are safe when used as directed.” The ADA also recommends that people consult with their dentists before using over-the-counter tooth whitening products or undergoing professional treatments.
Teeth whitening is usually not advised for the following demographics:
- Pregnant or nursing women
- Children under age 16
- People with chronically sensitive teeth
- Anyone allergic to peroxide
- People with gum disease
- Individuals with brown, gray, or purple-stained teeth (veneers or crowns are the best solutions here)
If you start to experience irritation while using a teeth-whitening method, try these tips:
- Wear the tray or gel for a shorter period of time
- Stop whitening your teeth for 2 or 3 days to allow your teeth to adjust
- Brush your teeth with toothpaste made for sensitive teeth to soothe your teeth’s nerve endings
- Ask your dentist for a high fluoride-containing product, apply it to your tray, and wear it for 4 minutes before and after whitening
If you experience sensitivity that is persistent and unbearable, simply discontinue the teeth whitening process.
Different Teeth Whitening Methods
There are many different teeth whitening methods on the market that you can try. Each one has a different price, level of convenience, and speed to achieve results.
The simplest and most inexpensive way to whiten your teeth is to use whitening toothpaste. You can find whitening toothpastes at most drugstores or supermarkets. Be sure to look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when choosing a product. This symbol means that the ADA has determined that the product is safe and effective when used as directed.
You’ll probably spend less than $20 on a whitening toothpaste, but this product can only lighten your teeth by one shade. Over-the-counter whitening toothpaste only removes surface stains because it does not contain a bleaching agent. However, you can get prescription strength whitening toothpaste from your dentist to lighten your teeth up to 8 shades.
Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips and Gel
If you want to see faster results, you can try over-the-counter teeth whitening products. These include whitening strips and gels that you can purchase without a prescription. You can find these products at most drugstores or supermarkets. Again, look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance when choosing a product.
A full course of whitening strips or gel is usually 10-14 days. You may see results quickly, and they usually last for roughly 4 months. You can expect to pay up to $55 for these products.
Whitening mouthwashes can also help to remove surface stains from your teeth. They also help freshen your breath and reduce plaque like other mouthwashes. You can find them at most drugstores or supermarkets.
Mouthwashes are not as effective as other whitening methods, but they are convenient and easy to use. Simply swish the mouthwash around in your mouth for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then spit it out. Some mouthwashes need to be used twice a day, while others can be used just once. A course of treatment is usually 2-3 weeks long. You can expect to pay between $5-$10 for a whitening rinse.
At-Home Whitening Trays
If you want to achieve professional teeth whitening results without paying a high price, you can use at-home teeth whitening trays. You’ll need to get a custom-made tray from your dentist or purchase one online. The tray is filled with a bleaching gel and then placed over your teeth like a mouthguard.
At-home whitening trays are more expensive than other methods, costing between $100-$500. However, you can reuse the tray multiple times, so it’s a good investment if you want long-lasting results.
A treatment course is usually 2-4 weeks long, and you’ll see visible results after the first few uses.
Professional In-Office Whitening
If you want to get the whitest teeth possible in the shortest amount of time, you’ll need to visit a dentist for professional in-office teeth whitening. This is the most expensive method, usually costing between $500-$1,000.
The dentist will apply a bleaching gel to your teeth and then use a special light to activate it. This process is repeated 2-3 times during your appointment. You’ll see immediate results after just one treatment.
Safe, Long-Lasting Professional Teeth Whitening at Wayzata Dental
Overall, teeth whitening is a safe cosmetic procedure, especially when performed by a professional. If you’re interested in brightening your smile, come visit the experts at Wayzata Dental in Minnesota!
Our friendly and skilled team will give you the smile of your dreams in just one visit! Or, we can provide you with whitening gel and customized trays for you to use at home.
Contact us today to schedule your teeth whitening appointment!