Understanding the Safety of Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening is one of the most requested elective procedures by dental patients across the country. However, there are still questions surrounding its safety and effects on long term tooth health. To understand the safety of tooth whitening, it is important to understand how teeth pick up and hang on to stain.

Things like coffee, tobacco, and other stains become integrated within the tooth enamel over time. These stains cannot simply be brushed off because they have penetrated the tiny microtubules in tooth enamel. The basic premise behind tooth whitening is to open these microscopic tubules, allowing the stain to “lift” out of the tooth. Let’s take a look at the safety of several dental whitening methods.

Baking Soda

Brushing with baking soda is a common at-home remedy for stained teeth. Although baking soda can produce whitening effects, it is due to the abrasive nature of the material. More specifically, baking soda can wear down enamel over time, eliminating the stain trapped within at the same time. Long term brushing with baking soda can degrade enamel to the point that tooth sensitivity is increased and, ironically, the teeth can actually appear darker in response to loss of enamel.

OTC Whitening Products

OTC whitening products such as strips are generally very safe, although most people do experience some degree of tooth sensitivity during and after treatment. If you find that this sensitivity is too much to bear, simply stop using the strips for a while until the teeth equilibrate and revert to their normal, non-sensitive state.

Professional Whitening

Professional whitening treatments are those that are administered by a dentist. These are generally considered the safest since they take place under the direct supervision of a dental professional. The whitening materials used in dental offices is generally much stronger than others, which can lead to post-whitening sensitivity. However, many modern whitening materials are imbued with anti-sensitivity compounds that go a long way in eliminating any pain or sensitivity.

Understanding the Safety of Tooth Whitening

Related>>> How Do I Know if I Am a Candidate for Dental Implants

Generally speaking, tooth whitening is an inherently safe procedure, provided you consult with your dentist about the best method for your particular needs.

Previous post

You Have a Chipped Tooth. What Now?

Next post

How Implants Can Bring New Life to Your Dentures

The Author



Ivan is a Dental School student on his way to become a Prosthodontist. Originally from Bulgaria, Ivan speaks 3 languages.

1 Comment

  1. […] Understanding the Safety of Tooth Whitening […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *