Ask the Dentist – Whitening…Is it safe?

Whitening…Is it safe?

by Dr Shruthi Dayal

Now that masks are coming off, teeth whitening has gained popularity as a way to enhance the smile. There are several different whitening products which vary in application methods, effectiveness, and active ingredients. Here are some of the most common products:

  1. Whitening toothpaste: These toothpastes contain mild abrasive and chemical agents that remove surface stains. While they are effective at maintaining whiteness they are not as effective at removing stains.
  2. Whitening strips: These strips are coated with a peroxide based gel and typically applied to teeth one to two times a day for a couple of weeks. Whitening strips can provide noticeable results, but may not reach all areas of the teeth. Also, over-the-counter whitening products often contain lower concentrations of peroxide which makes it less effective than professional treatments.
  3. Whitening gels and trays: These involve applying a peroxide based gel to custom formed trays which are worn over the teeth for a designated time. The custom trays allow the gel to cover the entire tooth surface and make it easier to avoid contact of the gel with your gum tissue.

Teeth whitening is generally safe when performed correctly. However, it’s important to follow the instructions provided by dental professionals and the product manufacturer. Some people may experience temporary tooth sensitivity or gum irritation after whitening, but these effects are usually mild and subside over time. Overuse of whitening products or using them for a longer duration can damage the enamel and lead to translucency or erosion.

Teeth whitening can be an effective method for brightening your smile. With various options available, from over-the-counter to professional treatments, you can choose the approach that best suits your goals and preferences. Prior consultation with a dental professional is important to ensure the procedures safety and effectiveness, while also addressing any underlying oral health concerns. Remember a dazzling smile can contribute to increased confidence, but maintaining overall dental hygiene and seeking professional guidance should always be a priority.

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