Just like the rest of our bodies, our teeth will show signs of wear and tear as we age. This can lead us to consider options like teeth whitening to brighten our smiles. In this post, our Surrey dentists discuss the different options for teeth whitening and if there are any risks or side effects that you should be aware of.
Why might you choose to have your teeth whitened?
Professional teeth whitening, unlike other dental services, is only focused on the cosmetic appearance of the teeth. One of the ways that a brighter smile can influence good physical oral health is by helping you be more inclined to keep your smile white. This is because once your teeth are white you generally try harder to keep them looking this way through more consistent brushing and flossing.
As we age, our teeth can become discoloured for numerous reasons, whether as a result of our drinking or eating habits, smoking cigarettes or taking certain medications. You can also experience damaged or discoloured teeth due to tooth decay.
One of the reasons that teeth whitening is a common choice is that it allows you to alter your smile and make it brighter and healthier looking without the need for an invasive procedure.
Are there different options for teeth whitening?
If you are considering teeth whitening then you may be wondering if there is more than one type of treatment available. At our office in Surrey, we offer our patients two choices for teeth whitening:
- Professional at-home bleaching kits offered by your dentist
- Teeth whitening products are available over the counter, without supervision from your dentist
Are there any risks or side effects that I should worry about?
While there isn't usually much of a risk of serious side effects with teeth whitening procedures there are a few minor concerns that are worth noting. Luckily, these aren't usually serious and should pass fairly quickly. Some of these concerns include:
You may experience increased sensitivity.
In the time following your teeth whitening treatment, you may have an increased sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. The sensitivity will likely not last more than a week or two. In the meantime, ask your dentist about products that can help. They recommend products containing potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride to treat sensitivity.
There can be instances of minor gum irritation.
While the teeth whitening formula is great for brightening your teeth is less great for your gums. While your dentist will do what they can to help keep the solution on your teeth and off your gums a little may combine into contact. If this happens then minor irritation may occur. This side effect should not last very long once the treatment is complete and the solution is no longer in contact with your gums.
What else should you know about professional teeth whitening?
If you choose to undergo teeth whitening it is important to be aware that this is not permanent and you will need to continue with touch-ups in order to keep new stains from forming. Also remember that teeth whitening will not work on restorations such as crowns, bridges, implants and dentures, it is meant to be used on your natural teeth.
Speak with your dentist for more information and to learn if this service is right for you. If you have certain dental work in progress or active cavities are an issue, your dentist may recommend against this procedure.
Teeth whitening methods approved by your dentist are considered safe. Before doing any treatment, always discuss with your dentist and pick the one that matches your needs. It is important to remember to follow your dentist's instructions closely and contact your dentist right away if you have questions, concerns or side effects.