You can find teeth whitening products almost anywhere these days – from online stores to local convenience stores to your family dentist in Fairfield County, CT. If you are considering a tooth whitening product for an upcoming event such as a wedding or graduation day, or whether you’re thinking about whitening your teeth simply for your own happiness with your smile, our Old Greenwich, CT, dentist recommends that you take a moment to educate yourself on what teeth whitening actually entails – and what its potential risks may be.
Teeth Whitening Chemistry 101
Almost all whitening products contain the same basic ingredient, carbamide peroxide, or else they include its breakdown product, hydrogen peroxide. In this way, teeth whitening kits are pretty much all the same. The way they differ is in HOW MUCH of that chemical they contain. Over-the-counter kits have lower strength chemicals, because of the inherent risk of the damage they might cause when not being overseen by a professional. Tooth whitening overseen by a dentist, however, can get your teeth much brighter much faster, because they contain higher concentrations of the active whitening ingredient. The risk is significantly minimized with your dentist, however, because he or she will know your individual dental needs and will be able to tell you whether you can use the teeth whitening product safely.
What Are the Risks of Teeth Whitening?
There are two main risks to getting your teeth whitened, and they are both FAR more likely to be an issue if you use an over-the-counter teeth whitening kit.
- The active ingredient in teeth whiteners could potentially damage the enamel covering your teeth. If this happens, you can experience discomfort from tooth sensitivity and gum tissue irritation. While this sensitivity typically subsides after a few days, for some people it can last indefinitely due to excessive damage to the tooth enamel. Having your teeth whitening process overseen by a dental profession can help to avoid this danger.
- If you have crowns, veneers, or lumineers, then you could end up with teeth that don’t match each other in color. This is because the teeth whitening chemical will act differently on your natural teeth than it will on the artificial components. Your dentist in Old Greenwich can also help to ensure that you don’t end up with uneven coloring on your teeth.
How Long Will Your Whitened Teeth Last?
When your adult teeth first erupted, they were most likely bright and unstained. Of course, that pearly white glow didn’t last forever. Eating, drinking, smoking, and simply aging caused your teeth to yellow slowly over time. The same thing will happen after you have your teeth whitened by your Old Greenwich, CT, dentist. The full brightness of the treatment will typically fade approximately 6 to 12 months later.
There are ways that you can extend the length of your whitened smile, however. Avoid smoking, and stay away from foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, such as foods with colored dyes, red wine, tomato-based sauces, coffee, tea, colored sodas, and blueberries, to name a few.
This information is not meant as medical advice. It is provided solely for education. Old Greenwich Dental Center would be pleased to discuss your unique circumstances and needs as they relate to these topics. To schedule your free new-patient exam, dental cleaning, and consultation with our Old Greenwich, CT, dental office, give us a call.