How Safe is Teeth Whitening ?
With hundreds of thousands of people parting with their cash each year in the quest for a whiter smile, it seems that we have all given into the ideology that brighter is most definitely better. But are all of these treatments promising to give you a Hollywood smile as effective, or even as safe as they claim to be? With so many businesses out there offering teeth whitening as a service, how can you be sure that you are in safe hands?
What is Teeth Whitening ?
There are a number of different methods of lightening the colour of your teeth, these range from whitening toothpastes, through to oil pulling. However there are a number of other approaches that are supposedly more effective, but use stronger substances. Although these may do a better job at improving the colour of your teeth, it also carries a higher risk.
One of the methods that is swiftly growing in popularity is bleaching. This involves applying a specialist bleach, made from a hydrogen peroxide solution, to the surface of the teeth, which lightens the colour. The procedure doesn’t claim to make your teeth brilliantly white, but to visibly lighten them after a few treatments. This particular technique can take a number of weeks, or in some cases months to complete. Your dentist will first of all need to take a mould of your teeth, which will be used to create a mouth guard. Once this has been created, they will provide you with a bleaching gel, that you will need to apply when you are at home. This is then repeated over a number of weeks until you get the desired colour.
Another form of professional teeth whitening, known as laser teeth whitening, is carried out in the dentist’s chair. This is significantly more expensive, however the results are more instant and supposedly more effective. Similar to the traditional method, your dentist will apply a bleaching agent to your teeth and then use a laser to intensify the process, ultimately improving the colour of your teeth.
Is Teeth Whitening permanent ?
Unfortunately having your teeth whitened doesn’t mean that they will remain their new, brighter colour. The colour of your teeth depends heavily on your lifestyle, therefore if you continue to do the activities that stained your teeth in the first place, they will become stained again. Certain things that can affect the colour of your teeth includes smoking, drinking red wine and coffee, fizzy drinks or anything that is dark in hue.
After you have had your teeth whitened, you should be more mindful about what you are consuming, to help preserve your new pearly whites. If you are a smoker, you should quite, not only for your teeth, but for your general health. Try to replace caffeinated drinks with water, or green tea and drink through a straw where possible.
What are the risks associated with Teeth Whitening?
Most dental procedures go ahead without any injury being caused, however there are a number of risks that can lead to a lot of pain as well as ongoing difficulties. Some of the most common side effects include:
1. Sensitive teeth:
The bleaching chemicals contained in these solutions are extremely powerful, therefore for some patients, especially those with weaker teeth, can find the enamel of the teeth becoming eroded. This can lead to extremely painful sensitivity, which can be further irritated by factors such as hot or cold temperatures.
2. Chemical Burns:
There are two main active bleaching agents used for teeth whitening, these are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. When used incorrectly they can cause severe chemical burns on the gums, which can cause irreversible damage. In extreme cases of dental negligence, the gums have been weakened so badly by the procedure that loss of teeth has occurred.
If you have already put your trust in someone to perform teeth whitening and it has gone wrong, you may have grounds to make a cosmetic surgery claim.
Who can perform Teeth Whitening?
Many people aren’t aware, however teeth whitening is categorised as a dental procedure, therefore it should only be performed by a qualified dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist. Anyone offering this service that isn’t doing so under the proper supervision of a qualified dentist may be breaking the law, as well as putting your safety and well being at risk.
There are growing numbers of beauty salons, mobile beauticians and beauty therapists that are offering teeth whitening among their other treatments. However, unless they are doing so under the supervision of a dentist, you can not ensure that they are taking the necessary precautions to protect your safety. And, if anything does go wrong, they will not have the knowledge of expertise to deal with your injuries.
If someone is offering teeth whitening products or services that isn’t a practicing dentist, dental therapist, dental hygienist or dental technician, they may be not be following the recommended procedures and therefore you should steer away.