Many people are interested in and want to have their teeth whitened, but are concerned about the possible risks and even the pain involved with having their teeth whitened. There are some minimal risks involved with whitening your teeth, but the results are one of the fastest and least expensive ways to update your look (when compared to Botox or cosmetic surgery).
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening methods and techniques have improved over the years and now consist of a bleaching agency called carbamide peroxide. This bleach eliminates the colored organic molecules that give your teeth a stained look. These molecules usually hide out between the crystals of tooth enamel (the outside of your tooth) and the dentin (the inside of your tooth).
Bleaching will have the best results on yellowish and some brown stains, but will not effect gray discoloration. If you have had any restorations done to your teeth, the bleach will not work on them, so keep that in mind when considering teeth whitening.
Will Teeth Whitening Hurt?
Following the process of teeth whitening, it is possible for some tooth sensitivity, which will vary based on the intensity of the solution used. The symptoms usually last one to four days. If the bleaching solution comes in contact with your gums, it can cause pain and irritation. If you are doing the process at home, it is important to wipe any excess gel from your gums immediately. If your dentist is doing the procedure, make sure to inform him or her immediately if you feel irritation.
Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
Yes, in most cases, teeth whitening is safe. The mineral structure of the tooth is not affected by the chemicals used to eliminate the stained molecules. Before getting your teeth whitened, it is important to let your dentist know so they can check your teeth to make sure there won’t be any surprises during the procedure.
What Options do I Have for Teeth Whitening?
There are two main directions to go for teeth whitening, and they both have pros and cons. Your choose depends on which one is best for your circumstances. There are professional teeth whitening options that can either be done in the office or at home. And there are over-the-counter options that can be done at home.
Professional teeth whitening options can either be done in the office or at home. These professional options have a higher concentration of whitening gel than what you can find over the counter. They work faster but can cause more discomfort to the gums or tooth sensitivity. Having a dentist’s supervision can help many feel better about the procedure, however these options are the more expensive.
The over-the-counter teeth whitening options are not as concentrated so there is usually less risk of gum irritation or tooth sensisitivy. However, due to the lower amounts of whitening gel in the mixture, they tend to take longer to achieve the level of whiteness that you might want. Over-the-counter options will be less expensive than the professional options, which can make a difference in some people’s decision.