Whether you have just had braces removed or preparing for retirement, you might be thinking about whitening your teeth to improve your look before you enter into the next chapter of your life. Unfortunately, even small mistakes could compromise your results and make your smile uncomfortable. Here are three simple tooth whitening mistakes to avoid making, so that you can enjoy a brighter, more beautiful smile.
Mistake: Using DIY Kits
Toothpaste manufacturers make teeth whitening seem simple enough. After using a new toothpaste for a while or applying a special gel, your teeth can look whiter in a few hours — or will they? Although it might seem simple to use DIY whitening kits, many of these products aren’t approved by the ADA, which can leave you with poor results.
Oftentimes, at-home teeth whitening products contain lower concentrations of carbamide peroxide, which can make whitening take much longer. In fact, research has shown that the majority of “starter level” kits contain about 10% carbamide peroxide while dentists have access to concentrations as high as 40%.
Additionally, at-home whitening tools aren’t always easy or convenient to use since they are designed to fit everyone. For instance, bleaching trays may not fit properly, allowing whitening agents to spill onto surrounding gum tissues. The bleaching process can also be incredibly time-consuming, especially if you use whitening pens or messy strips.
On the other hand, in-office teeth whitening allows patients to lie back and relaxed while trained professionals take care of the rest. In addition to talking with you about what shade you would like your teeth to become, dentists will work hard to protect the surrounding gum tissue and dental work to prevent other problems.
Mistake: Whitening Too Frequently
Unfortunately, even prescribed dental whitening trays can cause problems if you use them too frequently. While it might seem tempting to whiten your teeth day and night, leaving those trays on for too long could cause extreme dental sensitivity and even enamel damage, which is why you should always follow your doctor’s orders closely.
When you whiten your teeth, a chemical reaction occurs in the dental enamel that releases microscopic plugs in the dental enamel. While it is true that this reaction allows bleaching agents to whiten underlying dentin, it can also cause pulpitis if the bleach isn’t removed in a timely manner. If you whiten your teeth too often, dental sensitivity can make it hard to eat and drink.
Over whitening your teeth can have other negative consequences, including making the edges of your teeth slightly translucent. Since the inside of your mouth is dark, this translucency can give your smile a bluish-gray look.
To prevent these kinds of negative side effects, only use products recommended by your dentist, and always set a timer when you whiten your teeth. Avoid whitening your teeth at times when you might get distracted, such as when you are tired or involved in other activities.
Mistake: Ignoring Dental Damage Before Whitening
Another big mistake patients make when they are new to teeth whitening is overlooking existing dental damage. Before a dentist whitens your teeth, they will check your smile carefully for damage like missing dental fillings, chipped teeth, or cracks. Since whitening these areas can cause extreme pain, your dentist will talk with you about repairs before tackling cosmetic dental issues.
Before you consider any teeth whitening method, talk with your dentist about whether or not your teeth are healthy enough for bleaching. If you chip a tooth or experience facial trauma, have the issue resolved before using at-home products or prescribed bleaching trays.
If you want a healthy and beautiful smile, book an appointment with Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA. With a focus on personalized patient care and a commitment to kindness, our entire team can help your family to improve their dental health.