There are only minimal risks associated with teeth whitening – however, our North Vancouver dentists ask patients to keep a few things in mind when considering teeth whitening treatment.
'Teeth whitening' and 'teeth bleaching' are not exactly the same thing.
Teeth whitening includes a variety of methods, from cleaning agents and over the counter whitening products, to actual teeth bleaching.
In general, the term 'teeth whitening' refers to anything you can do to make your teeth appear whiter.
Teeth bleaching, on the other hand, is a type of teeth whitening that involves lightening the actual colour of the teeth using hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.
Because teeth whitening encompasses teeth bleaching, these terms are often confused.
Are teeth whitening and teeth bleaching treatments safe?
Both over-the-counter teeth whitening and professional bleaching are considered safe when used as directed. However, with bleaching, there are some minor risks that you should know about.
Bleaching can sometimes cause temporary sensitivity to temperature in the teeth. Some people experience what they describe as spontaneous 'shooting' pains down the centres of their front teeth.
The tooth sensitivity caused by teeth whitening typically fades away after a few days at most.
Most people who use peroxide-based whitening systems experience some mild gum irritation as a result of the bleach concentration or contact with the trays.
Like sensitivity, gum irritation lasts for several days after the bleaching process is complete, and fades away on its own.
Problems with Restorations
Teeth bleaching products do not work on dental restorations. If you have dental crowns, fillings, or veneers and try to whiten your teeth, the restoration will stay the same colour.
For this reason, it may be better to undergo a course of teeth whitening before having other dental restoration procedures completed, so that the restorations can be closely matched to the new, lighter colour of the teeth.