When administered by a qualified dentist like Dr. Dennis Wells at Nashville Aesthetic Dentistry – Dennis J. Wells, DDS, teeth whitening is generally a safe and effectual approach with very few risks. In the majority of use cases, any side effects are usually caused by misuse of the whitening agent, including attempting to over-whiten.
The most common after-effect is temporary tooth sensitivity. You can reduce this risk by discussing your sensitivity levels with a dentist before beginning a procedure and following all aftercare instructions closely.
Possible Long-Term Risks
Although there are minimal
risks with teeth whitening. However, in scarce cases, some professional-grade
and over-the-counter products may cause:
- Long-term sensitivity
- Injury to the tooth roots
- Dissolving of enamel
- Patchy results
- Injury to membranes in the mouth
Additionally, patients who chronically whiten their teeth at home without the approval of their doctor can develop serious oral health concerns. Again, this type of case would qualify as a “misuse” as we mentioned previously.
It is proven that chronic overuse of peroxide-based whitening solutions can erode tooth enamel and even cause chemical burns on the soft tissue inside the mouth. These effects are rare and are typically associated with overuse or misuse.
Short-Term Side Effects
While whitening rarely causes extended negative effects, temporary tooth sensitivity can be a common result. If you do have any discomfort following a whitening treatment, talk to your dentist about solutions.
You may be more likely to experience sensitivity if you:
- Currently have sensitive teeth
- Notice sensitivity after teeth cleaning
- Feel irritation after brushing or flossing
Some dentists recommend desensitizing products to help patients with sensitive teeth after whitening. Obviously, if you experience any irritation, you should temporarily suspend any scheduled touch-up whitening treatments until directed to by your dentist.
Another possible side effect of whitening can be gum irritation, and this may result from:
- A defective bleaching tray
- Breakdown of the initial protective barrier
- Overuse and misuse of a whitening solution
How to Minimize Any Risks
Scheduling your whitening with a qualified dentist is the best way to eliminate the chance of temporary or long-term or side effects. Purchasing whitening products from your pharmacy and using them is less reliable. Some cheap brands can have seriously high levels of peroxide.
Also, these products are more likely to cause patchy results. Typical side effects of store-bought whitening products occur from the misuse of the gel solution. Always discuss with your dentist before starting teeth whitening, especially if you plan to do it yourself, to decide if you are a good candidate.