Are Teeth Whitening Kits Safe?
Who wouldn't want a dazzling smile?
This could be hard to achieve, however, if one has stained teeth. Luckily, teeth whitening has become a thing, and you can take advantage of it to have brighter teeth.
So, what exactly is teeth whitening?
It is a procedure that involves bleaching your teeth so that they can be lighter. Usually, the procedure will not give your teeth a brilliant white. However, it will lighten them by several shades.
Today, more people are paying to get brighter and whiter teeth. You can have the procedure done by a dentist or dental surgeon, or you can get an over-the-counter teeth whitening kit. If you want to learn more about teeth whitening, read on.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth are made up of a hard, porous outer layer called the enamel. They also have an inner layer known as dentin, which is softer than the enamel. The enamel is mainly translucent, which means that the dentin determines the color of your teeth.
A majority of teeth whitening products contain two active components – carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The components penetrate the enamel to bleach the dentin, making your teeth whiter. The bleaching process gets rid of chromogens that are responsible for the staining.
Chromogens are usually classified into two – those that comprise of large organic compounds (they have conjugated double bonds) and those that are comprised of metal compounds. That said, hydrogen peroxide is more aggressive as compared to carbamide peroxide.
Usually, the latter slowly breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea. So, if you have sensitive teeth, you would rather go for a product whose active ingredient is carbamide peroxide. Keep in mind that you'll find plenty of teeth whitening products out there.
As a result, you should consult your dentist to know the product that will work best with your type of teeth stains. For instance, you could go for home-based whitening kits, which are meant to address lighter stains. On the other hand, if you have darkened teeth, you will get better results if a dentist works on the stains on your teeth.
If you go to a dentist, your stains could be treated in one appointment. Alternatively, the dentist will give you a teeth whitening gel and some custom-fit trays for you to carry out the procedure yourself over a period of 2 to 4 weeks.
There's also a procedure known as laser whitening or power whitening.
A dentist has to carry out this procedure, and it only involves a few steps. First, the dentist will apply a bleaching product on your teeth. Next, the dentist will shine a laser or light over the product to activate the whitening.
Want to know the best part about laser whitening?
Well, it takes approximately one hour to deliver unmatched results.
Are Teeth Whitening Kits Safe?
Many people, especially first-time users of teeth whitening kits and processes, tend to wonder whether whitening kits are safe. According to the British Dental Association, teeth whitening is very safe as long as it is done by a registered dental health expert. Therefore, you need to make sure that whoever carries out the procedure on you is a qualified professional.
If teeth whitening is done by someone who doesn't have the right training, there is a high likelihood that your teeth, gums, or both will have permanent damage. However, there are some cases where beauticians from beauty salons offer this service. Obviously, this is not recommended, unless there's a dental health professional present to ensure your oral health is not put at risk.
Over the counter kits are also safe, but they may carry some risk as well. Note that you are advised to get a product that contains about 0.1% of hydrogen peroxide. Dental professionals are the only ones allowed to use components with a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
If you want to use an at-home teeth whitening kit, then make sure to follow the advice given by your dentist. Failure to do so might affect your dental health severely. Additionally, make sure to apply your product within the stipulated period.
Here are some of the effects of applying over the counter whitening kits poorly:
- You could suffer from periodontal problems, such as mild gingival irritation
- Tooth erosion Damage to the pulp of your teeth
- Your teeth may lose their mineral content
- Prolonged use may result in increased tooth sensitivity
Teeth Whitening Safety Tips
To avoid the adverse effects of teeth whitening, you have to follow a specific procedure. Here, we will outline teeth whitening safety tips that will leave your teeth looking brighter.
Step I: Visit your dentist
Before you start using any teeth whitening products, you must visit a dental professional first. Why is this important? It allows your dentist to conduct proper oral checkups. The dentist will look at the health of your gums and also assess your teeth for cavities.
In case any problems are detected, you will receive proper treatment first before you can proceed with the whitening. Sometimes, your teeth don't even need whitening, they only need professional cleaning to regain their sparkle. When your dentist is done with the checkup, he or she will recommend the product that best suits your stains.
You will also receive proper guidance on how to use the whitener to avoid harmful effects.
Step II: Check the component(s) concentration
Teeth whitening products contain bleach. Some contain hydrogen peroxide while others have carbamide peroxide. If you settle for the former, ensure to get one with a concentration of 0.1%.
However, if your product has carbamide peroxide, make sure its concentration ranges from 10% to 20%. You must also factor in teeth sensitivity when choosing a product. Your dentist will help with that to avoid irritability when you're whitening your teeth at home.
Step III: Follow instructions carefully
After purchasing a teeth whitening kit, make sure to read all the instructions. You should NEVER leave the gel on your teeth longer than recommended. Otherwise, you might end up affecting your oral health.
After whitening your teeth, keep off acidic beverages such as sports drinks or soda for several hours. Doing so helps to protect your teeth.
Step IV: Protect sensitive teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, you will notice some increase in sensitivity after you whiten them. Luckily, this is a short-term effect. To avoid the problem, it is advisable for you to use products that contain carbamide peroxide instead of hydrogen peroxide.
Alternatively, you can stop the treatment and consult your dentist. Sometimes, the gel-filled trays that your dentist gives you may bother your gums. That mostly happens when they don't fit.
If this is the case, it is advisable to cease using the product.
Step V: Do not overuse
When you're whitening your teeth, there's a particular shade that you would like to achieve. When you follow your product's instructions, you should attain great results within the stipulated time. Afterward, you can do touch-up sessions once a month.
Who Should Not Use a Teeth Whitening Kit?
Although teeth whitening is an excellent and safe procedure, it is not for everyone. Particularly, pregnant women and nursing mothers are advised against teeth whitening. Additionally, if you have fillings, dentures, veneers, or crowns, don't bother with teeth whitening.
Why? It will not work.
Teeth whitening has become one of the most popular procedures in the dental world. Usually, the process involves bleaching your teeth to make them brighter.
And the best part? You can get a teeth whitening kit to carry out the procedure from home.
Before working on your teeth, however, you must first visit a qualified dental professional for a consultation. Teeth whitening kits are mainly composed of two ingredients – hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. They work on the dentin to make your teeth lighter.
You must also know that stains vary from one person to the other. So, a product that works for you may not work for another person.
So, are teeth whitening kits safe?
Overall, teeth whitening kits are safe, although you have to follow the instructions from your dentist to the letter.