Teeth whitening is a very common practice today and there are many different options to choose from. When it comes to whitening, there could also be some pitfalls to avoid.
There was a study done in 2011 which showed that the use of very high percentage of hydrogen peroxide (35 per cent) resulted in reduction in the hardness of the enamel of your teeth. In another study done in 2005 they compared three types of whitening – Whitening strips, At Home Bleaching and In Office Whitening.
They found all three groups to be effective and that the side effects were minimal and reversible in all three cases. The most common side effects of the teeth whitening according to several studies were tooth sensitivity and irritation to the gums. So, we see that when we use a whitening system that is lower in hydrogen peroxide and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, tooth whitening is a safe procedure.
There are some other factors that you need to consider when you are thinking of wanting to bleach your teeth.
Crown, Veneers and fillings do not change colour when we whiten our teeth. So, you must know that you could end up needing a crown or filling changed to fit your new whiter teeth.
It is better to get your teeth cleaned (all stains and calculus etc.) before you start bleaching as it could affect the outcome negatively.
Make sure all your teeth are free from cavities.
Some discolorations may be from teeth that may need Root Canal Treatment, or from discoloured bonding agent. It is strongly advised that you make sure the whitening is what is needed to deal with the discoloration.
Whitening teeth that already has an intrinsic/internal stain (the stain within the tooth structure) could sometimes make the intrinsic stains appear more pronounced.
When whitening teeth with brown and white discolouring, the brown could respond well but the white does not respond at all. In these cases, bleaching, may need to be combined with abrasion technique or restorations to treat the non-aesthetic white areas. In some cases, whitening teeth with tetracycline staining may improve the contrast and ultimately the aesthetics of your tooth, these procedures could be unpredictable and it is worth knowing the risks involved before starting.
There is some variable evidence on the effectiveness of bleaching lights used in office bleaching. These lights may cause greater heat which in turn could result in greater pulpal irritation and dehydration. The initial dehydration would temporarily make them seem more effective.