As with any procedure, teeth whitening comes with its own array of possible side effects after the process. While most teeth whitening sessions go easily and patients experience little to no side effects, and the procedure is considered generally very safe, there are many possible risks to take into consideration before choosing to get your teeth whitened.
1) Tooth Sensitivity: The most common complaint associated with teeth whitening is tooth sensitivity for up to 24 hours after the procedure. The dentin layer of your teeth is exposed during the process and peroxide used when whitening causes chemical reactions that can lead to increased sensitivity. If you have sensitive prior to the procedure, be sure to let your dentist know. Stay away from extremely hot or cold foods after your procedure, and use a very soft, gentle toothbrush.
2) Tooth or Gum Pain: Along with sensitivity, there may also be pain in the teeth and gums due to chemicals used to whiten your teeth. Prescription toothpaste containing potassium nitrate may be prescribed to alleviate this pain. “Zingers” may also occur in certain teeth- sharp, random, intense pains down a specific tooth. Dentist don’t know exactly what causes this pain, but the widely accepted reason is that peroxide getting into the pulp of the tooth can cause bubbles that create intrapulpal pressure. This increased pressure can cause intense pain.
3) Soft Tissue Irritation: When getting your teeth whitened, you run the risk of exposing your gums to intense chemicals, which can result in chemical burns- also known as soft tissue irritation. When peroxide used in teeth whitening procedures comes into contact with your gums, lips or cheeks it can create blisters. Making sure whitening trays fit your teeth and that the whitening gel doesn’t escape the trays onto other parts of the mouth are the best ways to prevent these burns.
4) Accidentally Swallowing Peroxide: Peroxide is a very powerful chemical and, if swallowed, can cause nausea, vomiting, irritated skin, or headaches. When using a peroxide gel to whiten teeth, if you swallow a lot you may experience some nausea or vomiting, but in general peroxide gels are not a health concern when swallowed, for most people.
5) Thinning Enamel: Studies have shown that enamel is minutely damaged when whitening teeth- though this side effect is less common, prolonged exposure to teeth whitening bleaching agents can damage enamel.
If you’ve looked into teeth whitening and are ready for a new, brilliant smile, Greenspoint Dental offers ZOOM! teeth whitening– a painless, one-hour procedure you can schedule at your convenience. Contact us today to get started.