Over the last decade or so, the popularity of teeth whitening has surged. It’s the most requested service in cosmetic dentistry these days. Brightening your smile by up to eight shades can make a big difference in your appearance. This explains why many people undertake whitening in preparation for a big event (think reunions, first dates, weddings—any place you want to make an impression or take a lot of photos) or just for boosting confidence.
It’s safe to say teeth whitening has become common practice, but is it safe for your teeth and gums? Are some options for addressing the color of your teeth better for you than others?
What Are the Risks?
According to a study reported by the American Dental Association (ADA), the most common adverse affects of bleaching are tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. The good news is these do not affect the majority of people, and for those who do experience discomfort, it’s temporary.
Also, whitening treatments are not ideal for every patient—caps, veneers, crowns and fillings won’t respond to the whitening solution. Neither will teeth of certain shades or teeth discolored by medication or injury. Consult with your dentist to make sure you’re a good candidate for a whitening treatment.
How Do I Know Which Treatment Is Right For Me?
You have a number of choices when considering teeth whitening solutions, and not every solution is best for every patient. Your options fall into the following three categories.
- Over-the-Counter. These include things like whitening toothpastes or rinses, and bleach strips or paint-on gels. If you go this route, be sure to choose products stamped with the ADA Seal of Acceptance so you know they’re both safe and effective when used as directed.
- In-Office. The teeth whitening treatment done by your dentist gets the biggest (and fastest) results. The professional formulas are much stronger than anything you can buy over-the-counter, and may incorporate heat or light to expedite the process. These treatments may take a couple visits and are the most expensive option, but will also give you the longest-lasting results.
- Take-Home. These are a mix of the previous two options—products you get from your dentist to take home and apply yourself. With these, your dentist can evaluate the shade of your teeth to determine what product is best and customize trays to fit your teeth exactly.
So, to Sum Up…
Teeth whitening is safe and effective as long as you follow directions and don’t over-apply. The key is consulting with your dentist to determine what sort of whitening products are the best fit for you. And if you do experience any discomfort while bleaching that doesn’t subside, let your dentist know so they can see if something else is going on.
To find out which products are best for you and start on your way to a whiter, brighter smile, set up an appointment with your dentist by contacting Advanced Family Dental & Orthodontics today!