What Are the Side Effects of Teeth Whitening?

Posted on: April 2, 2018

Teeth whitening is en vogue these days as it quickly beautifies the teeth with little risk.  Teeth gradually darken across the aging process. This darkening is especially common when one consumes coffee, tobacco, red wine, berries and other foods/drinks that stain the teeth.  Faulty or insufficient oral hygiene can also cause tooth discoloration.

The question is whether the minimal risks posed by teeth whitening are worth the benefit. Keep reading…

The potential side effects of teeth whitening are rare and almost always worth the minor risk.

Teeth Whitening Risks With Over-the-counter Products

You can pick up all sorts of over-the-counter teeth whitening products. While these products are fairly cheap, they have the potential to backfire.  This is not to say there are absolutely no risks posed by professional teeth whitening. However, those who opt for over-the-counter teeth whitening products are at a much higher risk for leaving the teeth brittle and highly sensitive.

It is also possible for the over-use of at-home teeth whitening products to strip away tooth enamel.  This occurs when an excess of carbamide peroxide is applied to the teeth. This ingredient becomes hydrogen peroxide when exposed to water.  Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent that can make the teeth quite painful.

This bleaching agent can even mar the teeth with a blotchy aesthetic due to the exposure of the dentin below.  Such a wearing away of the enamel gradually makes the teeth that much more brittle and vulnerable to chipping and cracking.  

Professional Whitening at the Dentist's Office Also Poses Some Risk

Be sure to meet with your dentist to discuss in-office teeth whitening prior to moving forward with this cosmetic dental treatment.   For the most part, professional teeth whitening solutions at the dentist's office work quite well. However, the truth is some teeth whitening treatments do not work as promised.  This is especially true for patients who have teeth coverings like porcelain veneers.

Bleaching agents in teeth whiteners will not impact these materials yet there will be a meaningful aesthetic difference between the whitened teeth and the covered teeth. In general, teeth that are brown in color will not respond that well to teeth whitening methods.  For the most part, teeth whitening tends to work most effectively on teeth that are yellow-hued.

So do not assume teeth whitening will beautify all of your teeth regardless of their condition and previous treatments/procedures.  The bottom line is some patients will obtain little or no benefit from teeth whitening. Some stains simply cannot be lightened to the desired hue.  

Potential Pain

Though teeth whitening is unlikely to induce significant pain, there is the potential for discomfort.  Those who have sensitive teeth, teeth with diminished enamel or gum disease might not obtain meaningful benefits from teeth whitening.

In fact, such patients might feel slight pain during the whitening process. Consult with Edison Dental Health Center to determine if teeth whitening is worth the money and the minimal risk.


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