Is Whitening Bad for Your Teeth?

Is Whitening Bad for Your Teeth?

Sep 25, 2018

Professional teeth whitening is no longer reserved for celebrities and politicians, anyone can enjoy the benefits of a brighter smile. Advanced dental technology has made bleaching treatments convenient and affordable.

Why Whiten Your Teeth?

People use teeth whitening treatments for multiple reasons, including:

  • They want brighter teeth.
  • They want to eliminate discoloration or staining.
  • They want to upgrade their look without invasive and expensive cosmetic procedures.

Regardless of what motivates you to whiten your teeth, your reasons are valid. Teeth whitening is a safe, inexpensive procedure that can change your life. However, due to the restriction, if you are pregnant or nursing, teeth whitening has gotten some bad press. These are more precautionary measures and less of a danger.

Why Do Teeth Turn Yellow?

Teeth enamel forms in the womb. This outer shield is what gives both your primary and adult teeth their white hue. But no one is born with perfectly white teeth, but the color is much brighter in your younger years.

As time goes on, enamel takes a beating. It wears down and uncovers underlying darker tissue. There is no way to reverse the natural deterioration, so teeth tend to look grayer as we grow older. There is also the issue of staining and discoloration from the foods and drinks we enjoy every day of our lives.

While patients with yellowing teeth often feel self-conscious about it, this type of discoloration does not usually indicate poor oral hygiene. In fact, how your enamel wears has much to do with genetics and the foods and beverages you consume.

Different Ways to Whiten Teeth

There are several ways to whiten teeth. Some methods are performed in a dentist office, but others are not. Without professional application and supervision, you might wonder if teeth bleaching is safe.

Whitening at the Dentist’s Office

Professional teeth whitening is most effective and safest when performed in a dentist’s chair. The first step is to protect the gums from contact with the bleaching solution with a rubber dam. Then, the whitening gel will be applied to teeth allowed to penetrate the enamel. Visible results are typically seen immediately. To maintain your newly whitened teeth, we will provide custom-fitted bleaching trays and gel to use at home.

Professionally Supplied Whitening Kits

Professional bleaching kits are available for use at home to help sustain your results. The gel is delivered with custom-fitted bleaching trays made in office. Only your dentist can dispense professional teeth whitening formulations in take-home kits. This is a safe and effective approach as long as you follow the instructions you are given.

On-The-Go Whitening

Another convenient option is on-the-go teeth whitening. Although it is not custom made, the malleable tray conforms easily to your unique smile. This type of whitening tray is designed to ensure the gel reaches more of the tooth surfaces, especially on the back teeth.

Over-the-Counter Teeth Whiteners

This is by far the most cost-effective option. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products are available in drug and grocery stores. The bleaching gel is far less potent then the professional grade agents your dentist uses. Although this is a convenience, affordable and fast tooth brightening solution, the results may be inconsistent. These kits are not customized for each individual and can cause increased tooth sensitivity or gum damage.

Is Teeth Whitening Bad for You?

Pro: There is no danger involved with teeth whitening. But, bleaching gel permeates the tooth surface and can lead to (temporary) increased sensitivity. This problem can be avoided by using a whitening agent that contains potassium nitrate.

Con: Pregnant and nursing mothers are told to avoid teeth whitening. This may be why so many folks question the safety of the process. But this is more of a precaution than an actual danger.

Is Teeth Whitening Covered by Insurance?

Con: Since teeth whitening isn’t considered a medically necessary procedure, most insurance providers will not cover the cost. But, it all depends on your plan.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Take?

Pro: The teeth whitening process can be accomplished in less than an hour. Results are seen immediately.

Con: Severely stained teeth may require several office visits to accomplish the desired whitening results.

Is Teeth Whitening Bad for Your Health?

Pro: Some patients wonder if teeth whitening can have a negative impact on health, but there is no evidence to support any effect on health. The procedure is very brief, and the bleaching agents are not harsh enough to cause bodily harm.

Is Teeth Whitening Permanent?

Con: Professional teeth whitening or other methods are not permanent. The same everyday practices and habits that lead to the staining and discoloration in the first place can damage the enamel again. You are not likely to stop aging or eating and drinking pigmented foods. For those reasons, we offer take-home whitening kits.

Will it Help Your Confidence?

Pro: Most patients who whiten their teeth experience a confidence boost, they want to show off their brighter smile. People with discolored teeth tend to avoid smiling. After undergoing teeth whitening treatment, you will feel good about how you look. This can help you perform better on the job, in social interactions and just be more satisfied when you look in the mirror.