Want to whiten your teeth, but not sure if it’s for you? Is Teeth Whitening Safe?
In this blog we cover:
- What is in whitening products and is teeth whitening safe?
- How does whitening work?
- Why dental consultation is best?
Yes, teeth whitening is perfectly safe. That’s the simplest way we can put it. All whitening products available in Australia must strictly adhere to laws and regulations. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) is in place to regulate the whitening industry, in relation to both dentists as well as any over-the-counter products.
What is in whitening products?
The active ingredient in teeth whitening products is either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. When used as directed, it is perfectly safe in its application. Over-the-counter products contain only very small amounts of the peroxide, which is why they are easily available without any dental consultation.
Only a licensed dentist can use teeth whitening products that contain over 6% hydrogen peroxide or 18% carbamide peroxide. Dentists have received the education and training to assess a patient’s oral health and ascertain if it is safe for the patient to undergo whitening treatment. They will address any oral health concerns prior to starting any whitening treatment.
It’s crucial to note that these peroxide based formulas are the best option for whitening. Some treatments market themselves as ‘’all-natural’’ alternatives, which often carry materials such as sodium chloride or sodium perborate. While natural, they actually soften and dissolves the tooth’s enamel layer over time. The ADA has reported such products to the ACCC to protect consumers from misleading marketing gimmicks.
How does whitening work?
The peroxide solution will penetrate the surface of the tooth and react with the colored molecules that cause yellow discoloration or staining. They will break these molecules down, reducing their concentration which will give you visibly whiter teeth.
Over-the-counter treatment kits have small amounts of peroxide, this is why they only have the ability to penetrate to very shallow depths. The higher concentrated solutions used by the dentists have the ability to soak deeper into the enamel of your teeth, so the whitening effect will last for much longer.
Are there any side effects?
When used as directed, there will not be any long term side effects from teeth whitening treatments. Higher concentrations of peroxide could cause short term side effect, which is why such products are only allowed to be administered by a professional in order to minimize any potential discomfort. Some of these mild side effects include:
- Gum irritation: the peroxide solution could cause irritation to the soft tissue of the gums. Any discomfort should be short lived.
- Tooth sensitivity: when the peroxide penetrates the tooth it could irritate the nerve and cause sensitivity. Toothpastes for sensitive teeth and tooth mousse could help here, and are often recommended to be used in the lead up to the treatment, as well as after – to alleviate any discomfort.
Whitening at the dentist is safe
Seeing your dentist for teeth whitening is the safest way to achieve whiter teeth. They can ensure that the treatment and products used is applied correctly and is administered properly for the right duration of time. These factors are important, not only for the end results but also for your safety, as improper use can cause extreme sensitivity or worst-case death of your tooth.
To find out more in detail about the teeth whitening treatment process check out our blog about the different teeth whitening options.
Looking to get your teeth whitened? Book an appointment with us and talk to our experienced team of dentists about your options now!