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Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

October 7, 2017

Man's smile compared with color shading chartTeeth whitening is easily the most popular cosmetic dentistry solution available, but many patients who are fans of DIY beauty hacks or YouTube how to videos have heard some scary tales about teeth whitening. When done correctly, teeth whitening is not only effective it’s also perfectly safe. Keep reading to find out more about teeth whitening, the potential oral health concerns associated with it, and how to keep your smile healthy while brightening your teeth.

How Teeth Whitening Works

Teeth whitening products use carbamide and hydrogen peroxide to lift stains from the porous surfaces of your smile. In order to be effective, patients will need to use a product with a relatively high dose of these active whitening agents using an application method that prevents saliva from neutralizing the whitener. Unfortunately, over the counter teeth whitening products are not typically effective as they use very low doses of active whitening gel, and the application methods do not prevent saliva from neutralizing the low doses of whitener. In most cases, that means the whitener is only active for a minute or two at the most.

Professional take-home whitening kits utilize higher doses of active whiteners and custom application trays. This ensures predictable, safe, and effective teeth whitening results up to ten shades brighter in about two weeks of short, daily applications. In-office treatments may offer the greatest safety and efficacy as these treatments are entirely completed under the supervision of a cosmetic dentist. Most patients achieve their desired teeth whitening results in just one visit to the dentist.

Dental Sensitivity

One of the most common adverse effects of teeth whitening is dental sensitivity. This is experienced most often following in-office teeth whitening because the treatment uses the most concentrated doses of whitening gel. Many dentists include the application of fluoride treatment as part of the in-office teeth whitening process. This minimizes dental sensitivity following teeth whitening. Patients who use at-home whitening should select a toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate and fluoride. This helps these patients maintain their teeth whitening results and avoid sensitivity.

Gum Tissue Damage

In rare cases, gum tissue damage can occur. When teeth whitening is completed in the dental office, you can be sure your dentist will protect your gums and soft tissue from damage. Additionally, custom at-home whitening gel applicators prevent this for most patients, and the low doses of active whitener in store bought kits should protect your soft tissue. If for any reason you do experience soft tissue damage, your general dentist can help you repair your smile. In most cases, using a prescription mouth rinse is adequate to repair soft tissue damage. In more severe cases, we may need to provide more advanced treatment options.

Meet Dr. Elosta

At the Leesburg dental office of Wael Elosta, DDS, FAGD, we offer a wide variety of cosmetic dentistry services to keep our patients smiling. As a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, Dr. Elosta has completed numerous hours of advanced training and education in order to provide even the most advanced dentistry services safely and effectively. If you want to brighten your smile, conceal cosmetic flaws, or straighten your teeth, we’re here to help. Contact Lansdowne Family Dental to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation in our Leesburg dentist’s office today.

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