When watching a movie or TV show, have you ever noticed how white the smiles of the actors are? Many of them have had cosmetic veneers such as the kind available here at Uptown Cosmetic Dentistry. While veneers are a great solution, there are other alternatives. For example, teeth whitening is an affordable alternative. Some people have misconceptions about the practice and whether or not it is safe. Teeth whitening methods have been very well researched over the years. Whether done in a dental office or using home whitening kits, the outcome has been proven to be safe and effective.
Is It Safe?
Many people hear the word “bleach” and immediately think that it is toxic. The bleaching agent used in most whitening pastes is carbamide peroxide, which has been thoroughly evaluated by the American Dental Association (ADA).
The dental product manufacturers that make such products have done many experiments and studies to verify the safety of these teeth whitening products. Keep in mind that as with any health and beauty product there can be side effects for some users. Typically, the side effects tend to concern three major areas of the mouth: the gums, the teeth, and dental restorative products like fillings. The degree to which you may experience such side effects or issues depends on the type of whitening treatment you receive or use.
Minor Gum Irritation
Many people choose to get whitening done at a professional dental facility for the peace of mind that trained oral health practitioner afford. Many don’t realize that the strength of the bleach used in the office is much higher than most at- home kits. Dentists also use a bleaching light that intensifies the whitening effect of the bleach. The problem arises if bleach comes into contact with the gums. This can cause an irritation of the gums, and the stronger the bleach, the greater the probability for irritation. However, dental offices do use special protection to shield your gums from the bleach to minimize gum exposure, and any irritation normally heals on its own pretty quickly.
The other option is an at-home kit, whether it be a prescribed or over the counter. These are usually more affordable than dentist-administered bleaching and can also be more convenient. These products normally involve special whitening toothpaste, whitening strips or both.
Minor Teeth Sensitivity
Although not as common, the unintended effect of tooth sensitivity is a verified issue with some users. After bleaching, some users experience heightened sensitivity to temperatures, particularly cold. The effect wears off quickly but can cause some discomfort. Some products include ingredients that protect the enamel of the tooth to prevent this issue from arising.
May Cause Damage to Silver Fillings
Lastly, there has been some documented cases where the whitening agent has caused some damage to silver fillings, causing a leak of mercury from the filling. However, it should be noted that most dental practices have stopped using silver fillings, and the amount of mercury in silver fillings is negligible to begin with. It has been determined, however, that the bleach does not have any effect on crowns, implants or white colored fillings.
Teeth Whitening is Safe and Effective
While teeth whitening isn’t without side effects, it is a carefully developed process and is indeed safe when done correctly and cautiously. If you are concerned with the process, discuss it with an oral health care practitioner such as those at Uptown Cosmetic and Implant Dentistry.