Many of our patients have been whitening their teeth for many years, some with over-the counters toothpastes and rinses, some professionally in our offices, and some, with a little of both. And individuals from all three of those groups have asked us: Could teeth whitening, over time, damage our teeth?
We, and other dental experts, say this
When used properly, there is no biological reason that whitening strips, pastes or tooth-whitening trays used by dentists should cause damage to your teeth or gums in the long-term.
The concern about teeth whitening used to be that repeated bleaching treatments might have the potential to eventually damage cells within the dentin. That’s the layer just beneath our enamel that reacts to bleaching and is lightened. But after decades of teeth bleaching undertaken by thousands of us, using various home and professional methods, there’s been no evidence that there’s any permanent negative effects.
Whiteners can cause temporary tooth and gum sensitivity
The effects of teeth whitening aren’t permanent, and so the treatments are repeated. It’s important not to irritate the gums by bleaching too frequently, which can cause pain. But any sensitivity usually goes away after a few days.
The active ingredient in bleaching products is generally hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide breaks down in the body into water and a harmless compound called urea.
Aggressive brushing and firm toothbrush bristles should be our concerns
Tooth brushing should be done regularly, and always gently. Otherwise, we risk damaging the tooth structure and leaving ruts that may cause cavities. Many people brush their teeth too vigorously or press their electric brush heads to their teeth, rather than letting the electric-powered brush to do the job.
Always discuss your concerns with your dentist
If you’re experiencing more sensitivity than usual from teeth whitening, you should discuss your experience with the dentist. You should also discuss teeth bleaching methods to learn which procedures would be best for you. We can also determine if your discoloration might be caused by tooth damage or decay. Call for an appointment today: (304) 754-8803.