Teeth whitening safety
- Posted on: Aug 2 2010
We are often asked if teeth whitening is safe for your smile.
Every time you each and drink, the leftover residue accumulates to form a pellicle film. This film sits on your teeth and, even though you brush, it builds up and seeps into the porous enamel of the teeth, causing stains that cannot be brushed away. Smile whiteners work by using bleaching agents, such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, to soak deep into the enamel and break apart the stains. Your result is a whiter, brighter smile.
An over-the-counter whitening product contains 10% peroxide and these bear the ADA seal indicating their safety. Clinical studies have continued to show that this active ingredient ratio does not cause any damage to the enamel of your teeth. In fact, the only major side effects of home whitening are tooth sensitivity and occasional gum irritation. Many times, the gum irritation is a result of improper use of the bleaching product. Using more product, creates more sensitivity. Be sure, if using an at-home whitening product, you use it sparingly so as to avoid the gel oozing onto your gums and causing a small burn or irritation.
In-office whitening treatments contain much higher concentrations of peroxide – up to 35%. The key here is that we use a strong fluoride in conjunction with the bleach to help seal the porous surface of the teeth and help reduce the risk of sensitivity. Few patients experience gum irritation with in-office treatments because they are professionally applied.