Possible Risks of Teeth Whitening

Possible Risks of Teeth Whitening By Danny O'Keefe D.D.S. on October 30, 2013

When your teeth become discolored or stained, you may find yourself lacking confidence in regards to the appearance of your smile. Many people wish to have their teeth whitened to restore a perfect, white smile and regain that former sense of self-assurance. Teeth whitening, while a very common procedure, is effective, but it is associated with a few risks. Jackson patients considering teeth whitening may want to speak with their dentist beforehand to learn about the risks involved with treatment. 

If you do decide to whiten your teeth, you have a couple of options to consider: Over-the-counter whitening products, or an in-office or at-home kit that can be performed under the supervision of a dentist. In many cases, over-the-counter products do not yield the results that patients desire, and they may actually damage the teeth if they are used improperly. The safer choice is to use a product that is provided by your cosmetic dentist. Professional teeth whitening may cost a little more, but it is worth it in the long run because it is safer and more effective.

However, whether you undergo at-home or in-office teeth whitening, there are some risks involved with treatment. Educating yourself about potential risks and using teeth whitening products as directed can greatly reduce these risks.

Educate Yourself about Potential Risks

As with any type of cosmetic dentistry treatment, there are some risks involved with teeth whitening. Some of these risks include:

  • Tooth sensitivity or discomfort: If you suffer from tooth sensitivity, teeth whitening may increase sensitivity levels. This is because the whitening solution temporarily exposes the tooth’s nerves by penetrating the mineral layer and increasing the porousness of the teeth.
  • Gum sensitivity: Gum sensitivity can occur if the whitening solution comes into contact with the gums. This is less likely to occur if the patient has a custom mouth tray or when treatment is performed in the dentist’s office.
  • May affect tooth enamel: Repeated use of over-the-counter whitening products may wear down a patient’s tooth enamel, making the teeth more prone to sensitivity.
  • Uneven whiteness: The condition of the teeth or the manner in which the treatment is performed could result in uneven whitening of the teeth. This is less likely to occur when treatment is performed under the supervision of a dentist.
  • Root canal problems: If patients bleach teeth that have cavities or cracks, the solution can reach to root canal of the tooth, causing significant pain and requiring root canal therapy. This is another reason why it is so important for patients to meet with a qualified dentist who can ensure that the teeth are healthy before recommending any type of teeth whitening treatment.

If you choose to have your teeth whitening done in the dentist office, there are some measures your dentist can take to reduce these risks. Your dentist can actually predict whether or not you are at risk for certain complications associated with teeth whitening. If you have sensitive teeth and are worried about discomfort during and after teeth whitening, your dentist will be able to recommend avoiding certain types of foods and using certain types of toothpaste to help relieve sensitivity.

Reasons for Teeth Whitening

Tooth discoloration is the main reason why patients have their teeth whitened. There are many factors that could have potentially contributed to your teeth discoloration. For example, if you are a coffee, tea, or wine drinker, or you regularly use tobacco, you are more susceptible to your teeth becoming stained or turning yellow. Taking certain medications can also contribute to discolored teeth.

Learn More about Teeth Whitening

If you are interested in having your teeth whitened, make sure to speak to your dentist and have him or her give you advice on your decision. Contact Dr. Danny O’Keefe to schedule a consultation.