With so much emphasis placed on having a brighter whiter smile, it’s no wonder that whitening teeth is one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures. In fact, at our Bondi Beach Dental practice, we see dozens of patients every week. Many, however, ask us ‘is teeth whitening safe?’ so we thought that we’d put together a post explaining the answer in more detail.
More than one-third of Australian adults have considered teeth whitening as a cosmetic option but what exactly is it and how does it work?
In a nutshell, teeth whitening is a process that involves bleaching the teeth (normally with hydrogen peroxide). Once the bleaching agent is applied to the surface of the teeth, it penetrates the porous tooth enamel and lifts any staining. That’s the theory anyway…
Typically treatments can be carried out using either chairside or take-home teeth whitening kits supplied by your dentist. Alternatively, you can opt for over-the-counter store-bought whitening products. But while store-bought whitening products may be cheaper, teeth whitening treatments supplied by a registered dentist are arguably safer. Here’s why…
One area of teeth whitening that has been extensively studied is the safety of bleaching agents used in stain removal. Studies have shown that the less time that the tooth is exposed to the bleaching agent, the lower the risk of damage to the tooth enamel.
Professional chair-side whitening treatments – the type offered by a dentist – will typically use stronger bleaching solutions – often 5-6 times stronger than store bought teeth whitening kits. Therefore when applied to the tooth, the whitening gel needs far less time to achieve the same results.
Professional teeth whitening products and services are also heavily regulated by the Dental Board of Australia and the Therapeutic Goods Administration. This ensures correct concentrations of bleaching agent are used. Also it ensures that professional teeth whitening is only ever administered by a dental professional. So in answer to the question “is teeth whitening safe?”
If it’s carried out by a dental professional then, absolutely! If you’re still not convinced, then let’s look at another safety aspect…
Close monitoring by your dentist
Both chair-side and take-home teeth whitening treatments require a visit to the dentist. They will check your mouth and teeth thoroughly to see if you are eligible or a risk. From this, your dentist will make the final call as to whether teeth whitening is a safe option. It could be that you have sensitivity-causing cavities that need addressing or pre-existing gum disease. Either way, your dentist will normally insist that these problems are addressed first. On the contrary, you have no such control when you buy an over-the-counter whitening product, as there is nothing to stop you from using it at any time. As a result, it could be that you are doing more harm than good when you do it yourself.
So is teeth whitening safe really?
As already stated, teeth whitening is extremely safe when carried out under the guidance or control of a registered dental professional. However, if you choose to DIY, you are very much left to your own devices and typically, that’s when things can and do go wrong.
If you are considering undergoing a teeth whitening treatment and would like to find out more about how safe is teeth whitening then come and talk to the team at Bondi Beach Dental. We’ll give you a thorough dental examination and match the best product for you. Call today for an appointment.