Dental Care: Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Physical attractiveness is very important and is often associated with having bright and clean white teeth. Because there are so many teeth whitening products and procedures on the market offered by professionals and over the counter products, of course, the concern is how safe is it to whiten your teeth?

As with many medical procedures, dental work being no different it’s important to always consult with your dentist before undergoing teeth whitening. Since this procedure varies among people, due to the condition of their teeth and other circumstances, the advice of a dentist may be valuable to assist you in making a decision on the appropriate whitening method for you. It is your responsibility to know the facts surrounding teeth whitening to ensure safety and credibility for your dental care needs.

Research and clinical studies indicate that whitening teeth under the supervision of your dental provider is safe for the teeth and gums. There is no information that states whitening affects tooth structure, enamel, fillings or restorations.

Some people may experience tooth sensitivity during the treatment. These symptoms usually disappear within one or two days. The dentist will apply a desensitizer to help reduce sensitivity to the teeth. You can also use specially made toothpaste for sensitive teeth to assist in alleviating the pain.

• There have been some concerns raised by physicians and consumers about the risk of bleaching agents that may cause cancer. However, studies have shown that the concentration of carbamide peroxide in the product does not cause cancer to the mouth or to gum tissue. In fact, there is an agent in the saliva that seems to offset the amount of peroxide emitted by the whitening agents.

• Consumers have expressed concern and fear that the whitening products may cause tooth enamel to wear down or become damaged. Medical experts say that more harm is done to tooth enamel by soft drinks and fruit juices than teeth bleaching products.

• Another issue discussed was in reference to some patients being apprehensive about whether the nerve endings of the teeth can be affected by whitening products. Research on this issue is still in its early stages and has to be studied at longer intervals after the procedure is performed in order to gather the appropriate data.

Despite these concerns, there is still little evidence to support that the procedure is unsafe. The products are formulated to be gentle and safe. However, a word of caution, there are side effects to teeth whitening. If the user leaves the product on beyond the allotted time or chooses to bleach their teeth after every meal instead of adhering to the usage recommendations, the risk of using the product includes damaging dental enamel, developing cavities and tooth sensitivity.

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