While teeth whitening can be a great way to brighten your smile and increase your confidence, it is possible to overdo it. Risks associated with too much whitening include tooth and gum sensitivity, discoloration, and even enamel degradation. Let’s talk about teeth whitening — how much is enough, how to know if you’ve overdone it, and what dentists recommend to get the brightest smile with the least risk of damage to your teeth.
Teeth Whitening Methods
When it comes to whitening your teeth, you can either purchase over the counter whitening products or have your dentist help you achieve a whiter smile. Both have advantages and drawbacks. While home whitening products are more affordable, having your dentist whiten your teeth might be a safer choice.
Home Teeth Whitening Trays and Strips
Home teeth whitening products generally combat stains in two ways. Some use peroxide to bleach yellow stains. Others use abrasion to remove tough stains. At-home products can be purchased over the counter for less than a whitening procedure would cost in the dentist’s office. When used appropriately and in moderation, home teeth whitening trays and strips can achieve positive results.
The drawbacks of home whitening products are that they aren’t as effective as a visit to your dentist, and can cause severe discomfort and other side effects if used incorrectly. It’s also easy to abuse whitening strips and use them too often, which can cause serious damage to your teeth and gums over time.
Dentist Office Teeth Whitening Treatment
If you’re concerned about using at-home whitening products, you might consider scheduling a whitening procedure with your dentist. While this method is more expensive than over the counter products, it’s more secure and effective. Your dentist will be familiar with your teeth and be able to gently whiten them to the right degree, giving you the best results without causing any damage. The results you’ll achieve from a teeth whitening appointment with your dentist will be more reliable and longer-lasting, so you won’t need to reach for whitening supplies any time soon.
How You Know if You’ve Gone Too Far
If you’ve over-whitened your teeth using products at home, you’ll likely notice some side effects. Some of these are:
- Teeth appear translucent instead of white. This is caused by exposure to too much peroxide. The discoloration appears around the edges of your teeth. It is likely irreversible.
- Gums are red, swollen, and sensitive. You might also experience mouth and throat discomfort.
- Your teeth are increasingly sensitive. This will be especially noticeable when eating things like a cold apple or ice cream, or sipping hot beverages.
- Your dentist might notice erosion of the enamel on your teeth. Once lost, enamel won’t come back on its own. Loss of enamel could make your teeth more vulnerable to decay.
The best way to stop discomfort is to stop using the products immediately. Most symptoms should subside in the following few days. If you’re still experiencing discomfort and sensitivity, talk to your dentist.
Dentist Recommendation for Teeth Whitening
Some at-home teeth whitening products can be effective with regular, safe use. It’s best to talk to your dentist before you purchase, as they can give you advice on how to use the products with your teeth. If you’re concerned about significant yellowing or discoloration of your teeth, home products might not be effective. Talk to your dentist to discuss your options.
Teeth whitening treatments by your dentist will be more effective and won’t cause damage to your teeth. If you really want to see results with no side effects, it might be worth the investment in a brighter smile. After your whitening treatment, you can maintain your results by taking care with the foods and beverages you consume, especially those that are likely to cause some staining. Avoid smoking, drinking wine or coffee unless through a straw, and stay away from stain-prone foods.
Concerned you might have overdone it with home teeth whitening products? Give Mogren Dental a call or schedule an appointment online today! We can help you find a brighter smile, the healthy way.