If your teeth have lost their vibrancy or you notice they have a yellow or dingy appearance, chances are you have considered teeth whitening. With a recent survey showing 99.7 percent of people believe that an attractive smile is an important asset, it is easy to understand how Americans spend over $1.4 billion a year on nonprescription teeth whitening products. With so many different whitening products on the market, it is difficult to know which one will help you achieve your desired goals. And it raises the question, “Is Home Teeth Whitening Safe?” Let’s take a closer look.
Have Your Teeth and Dental Health Checked Before You Consider Whitening Your Teeth
Before beginning any whitening treatment, whether it is at home or by a professional, you should have a dental exam and professional teeth cleaning. The exam will look for things like cavities and gum disease and provide treatment as necessary. Problems with your teeth or gums may become worse with whitening, so it is essential to address these concerns first. Those with gum disease are advised not to whiten their teeth until the gum disease is resolved.
And, in some cases, all your teeth really need is a good cleaning to restore their bright white look.
Know Your Chemical Concentration
To better understand teeth whitening, you need to understand how they whiten your teeth and what different concentrations mean. Teeth whitening products for at-home use, whether they are toothpaste, strips, or whitening gel in trays, typically use hydrogen or carbamide peroxide to bleach the teeth. This is true for over-the-counter treatment options as well as what a dentist uses in professional whitening treatments. The difference between the products is their concentration. And the higher the concentration, the more potential for risks. This is the typical peroxide breakdown for various whitening products:
- Toothpaste – Whitening toothpaste contains very small trace amounts of peroxide if any. They typically use mild abrasives to remove surface stains.
- Whitening Strips – Over-the-counter whitening strips contain between six and 10 percent peroxide and work by applying a thin gel layer directly to the surface of the teeth. Unfortunately, because your teeth are not flat, these can result in uneven whitening.
- Over-the-Counter Whitening Gel – Over-the-counter, or non-professional strength teeth whitening gel, contains between 10 and 22 percent peroxide. This gel is applied using a stock, one-size-fits-all mouth tray. This provides much better results than toothpaste and strips.
- Professional Quality Whitening Gel – Profession strength whitening gel, as used by a dentist or given by a dentist for home use typically contains between 15 and 43 percent peroxide. This is applied to the teeth using custom-fit mouth trays to reduce the risk of contact to the gums. This provides the best results but, because of the higher concentrations, requires more considerations and strict adherence to instructions.
While teeth whitening is a relatively safe procedure, there are some possible risks. The higher the peroxide concentration in your product the great the risks. While most risks are avoided by carefully following the directions, they can still occur. Most are mild and resolve once the product is removed. These risks include:
- Teeth Sensitivity – Peroxide and whitening products can cause tooth sensitivity. This is typically short-lived and will resolve on its own. If it doesn’t consult with your dentist.
- Gum Irritation – Your gums are extremely sensitive and, when it comes to using teeth-whitening products, should be your top priority. When peroxide comes into contact with your gums, especially in higher concentrations, it can cause extreme irritation and burns. You may notice your gums turn white in color. While this irritation and damage typically resolves on its own, it can increase the risk of infection.
Following Instructions and Using Precautions When Whitening Your Teeth at Home
In order to achieve your desired result as well as reduce the risk of injury to your teeth or gums, it is essential to follow all instructions when using any whitening product. Follow the application method precisely and do not leave the product on your teeth longer than recommended.
When it comes to gels, using a product with custom-fitted trays, despite the stronger concentration, reduces your risk of gum injury. Because these trays are formed exactly to your teeth and bite, there is less risk of slippage or gel leaking.
Custom-fit whitening trays help to reduce the risk of damage to the gums. They also help ensure the whitening gel comes into contact with the surface of your teeth, resulting in optimal results. For more information, check out SportingSmiles whitening products.
All things considered; teeth whitening is a safe way to improve your smile. In a 2014 report in the Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice, current research supports the fact that tooth whitening is safe and effective as long as the manufacturer’s instructions are followed.
At SportingSmiles, we offer a professional-strength tooth whitening gel along with custom-fitted whitening trays. We send you our patented self-impression kit to make a mold of your teeth. Once you return the mold, our technicians create a professional whitening tray made to meet your needs. This helps reduce the risk of gum irritation and injury. Our whitening gel is 35 percent carbamide peroxide and will produce results similar to professional dental whitening. To learn more about our whitening trays and gel, visit HERE.