Can Teeth Whitening Products Hurt Your Teeth?

Some people report discomfort or sensitivity after attempting to whiten their teeth. Is this normal?

There is only one good reason to have your teeth whitened, and that is to make them look more attractive. There are no physical benefits to your teeth from this procedure, but it will make them look nicer, and, some argue, help to improve your confidence too.

Because of its non invasive method, this increasingly popular cosmetic dental treatment is widely deemed to be safe, providing that it is done correctly. Why then do some people complain of discomfort for a short period afterwards?

Eliminating the obvious

Before we look at any discomfort that might be felt following a teeth whitening procedure, it is worth pointing out that not everybody takes the professional route in an attempt to have whiter teeth. There are a wide number of DIY ‘remedies’ on Youtube and other similar outlets that we would most certainly not recommend. Whilst a tooth whitening procedure does use a form of bleach, this should not be confused with household bleach, and using that, and similar ingredients, will almost certainly result in very sensitive teeth, and perhaps worse.

Another possible cause of discomfort is when patients use a home whitening kit that has been bought from a chemist. Although the quantity of bleach used in these is less than can be used within the professional dental environment, there can be a problem with the trays that the bleach is put into. As these kits are mass produced, the trays are largely of the ‘one size fits all’ variety. This means that the risk of leakage is greater than where the trays are made specifically for the patient. If the bleaching agents leaks onto the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth, it can cause irritation and discomfort.

Professional teeth whitening

Having eliminated the most obvious causes, the question should be asked whether a professional teeth whitening treatment, carried out by a dentist, should ever result in discomfort.

The truth is that whilst this procedure is very safe if carried out by a qualified cosmetic dentist, such as those at the Confidental Clinic, there have also been instances of illegal outlets using very high concentrates of the bleaching ingredient. This is very dangerous. You should always use a dentist as these other outlets are now illegal, as well as unsafe.

Even with a teeth whitening procedure carried out at our Purley dental surgery though, some patients may experience a little temporary discomfort following the treatment. This is because the procedure not only removes surface staining, but also lightens the inner part of the tooth which becomes darker as we get older. To do this, the bleaching agent has to penetrate the enamel, and in doing so, may also cause additional sensitivity to your teeth. It should be noted that this is quite rare however.

The good news is that any additional sensitivity that is felt should be temporary and should disappear in 24-48 hours. During this period, you may wish to avoid very hot or cold food and drinks. Most patients may not even experience any discomfort at all, and it will depend on each individual person. Essentially though, any discomfort that is felt is usually relatively minor, short-term, rare and arguably a small price to pay for great looking teeth.

If you are thinking of having a teeth whitening procedure at the Confidental Clinic in Purley and are concerned about reports you have read about discomfort etc, we are happy to talk this through with you. Simply contact us on 020 8660 8923 to arrange a consultation and our team will be pleased to help.