Teeth Whitening Side Effects
By William Stofer on December 20, 2013
For decades, teeth whitening has been well known as a common cosmetic dentistry procedure for brightening smiles while correcting aesthetic flaws like tooth discoloration. Since it is a relatively quick procedure that does not require any major alternation like drilling or filing, most people are quick to dismiss tooth whitening as a minor procedure with no real risks. But, as with any dental procedure, there is always the potential for side effects. Dr. William B. Stofer and Dr. Jason D. Hemphill explain the range of side effects that can result from teeth whitening at their Warsaw, Indiana practice.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Teeth Whitening?
There are several side effects that can be associated with the teeth whitening process. With that said, many of the side effects of at-home and in-office professional teeth whitening treatments are only temporary. These more common side effects can include:
- Heightened Tooth Sensitivity - As the bleaching agents used in tooth whitening treatments penetrate the enamel of the teeth themselves, a common reaction is heightened tooth sensitivity. For up to several days after your tooth whitening treatment, you may experience increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods. This can range from a mild sensation to feelings of pain. If you have naturally sensitive teeth, be sure that your cosmetic dentist is aware - you may be prescribed pain medication to help mitigate these side effects.
- Gum Irritation - As your gums come in contact with bleaching agents, they may develop chemical burns and become irritated and react with redness, inflammation, and retraction. It is important to understand that this reaction is only temporary and should subside quickly.
- Unsatisfactory Results - Many patients expect their teeth to leap from dull discoloration to a brilliant white smile within one treatment. But a skilled cosmetic dentist understands that gradual treatments are necessary to avoid causing damage to the patient’s teeth with overly harsh agents.
While these teeth whitening side effects are only temporary, there are also side effects that can be more long lasting or even permanent. These reactions are rare, and are often associated with frequent overwhitening, but it is still important to be aware of these reactions in order to better avoid them. These rare reactions include:
- Permanent Tooth Sensitivity - Overbleaching or extensive exposure to bleaching agents can cause permanent damage to the tooth enamel, resulting in tooth sensitivity that does not go away after the usual couple of days.
- Translucency or Discoloration - Most people turn to tooth bleaching for a whiter and more beautiful smile, but overbleaching can lead to poor results. Patients who overbleach may find that their teeth start to appear dull and discolored, and can even become translucent toward the tips as the bleaching agents wear away at the enamel.
Contact Your Cosmetic Dentist Today
The best way to ward off negative side effects of tooth whitening treatments is to have your teeth whitened by a skilled and experienced cosmetic dentist. Contact Dr. William B. Stofer, Dr. Jason D. Hemphill, and their capable staff at Dental Solutions to schedule a consultation and learn more about teeth whitening treatments and options today.
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