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Teeth Whitening: Why You Should Leave It to the Professionals

person holding toothbrush up to teeth with a big smile

There are many teeth whitening products available in the market. Many of those products claim to provide a bright white smile, but very little emphasis is put on their side effects. That is why it is advisable for one to visit the dentist before using any of those products. The dentist is able to give an expert opinion on the dos and don’ts when it comes to using the products for teeth whitening available across the West Midlands and beyond.

The perfect smile is something most people wish to attain meaning that now more than ever bright teeth are highly sought after, making teeth whitening a hugely popular procedure.

It’s not just the professionals offering treatment to remove staining, a wide variety of home whitening kits are also available off the shelf.

While part of the popularity of teeth whitening is no doubt down to its relative affordability, which makes it an accessible enhancement, people need to be aware of what they are paying for. The lure of off-the-shelf products is clear – they are cheaper. That lower cost does come at a price though.

To start with it is worth considering that it is actually illegal for anyone other than a qualified dentist to perform teeth whitening – this is to ensure that the active ingredients are used properly.

The risks of home teeth whitening kits

People can instead choose to whiten their own teeth with a DIY kit – although the law limits the amount of hydrogen peroxide – the bleaching agent – to 0.1 per cent.

This is the first point to consider – dentists are able to use hydrogen peroxide up to a concentration of 6 per cent. That makes a huge difference in efficiency.

The reality is that you may actually be paying for nothing if a DIY teeth whitening kit fails to make an impact on the colour of your teeth, never mind the time invested.

Poor results should be the least of your worries though. DIY teeth whitening kits also carry a number of risks, these include:

  • Sensitive teeth

  • Stomach problems

  • Nerve damage

  • Shrinking gums

  • Patchy results

A dentist will make a tailored mould to fit a patient’s teeth exactly. Most home whitening kits will not have the same level of precision meaning the chemical formula can escape causing a burning sensation and making it possible to swallow it – leading to stomach problems.

Benefits of teeth whitening

Typically, teeth whitening makes a person’s smile brighter. This is a noticeable cosmetic improvement that most people crave. With age and lifestyle choices such as smoking, drinking and taking certain foods, the teeth tend to lose the glow they once had. They stain and become discoloured. Teeth whitening helps remove these stains and discolouration, leaving the teeth brilliant white.

Disadvantages of teeth whitening

On the downside, teeth whitening is not a permanent procedure. It involves temporal brightening of the teeth’s enamel. This brightness is eroded with time as you eat foods and take drinks. Therefore, in order to maintain the teeth’s brightness, you are required to go for repeat treatments.

Effects of teeth whitening

Most teeth-whitening products and procedures have some side effects since most of them involve the use of chemicals and bleaching agents. Most of the side effects are temporary. They include increased tooth sensitivity, over-bleaching and chemical burns. All these problems are manageable, although sometimes they can be very irritating.

Teeth whitening considerations

In order to find the right teeth-whitening products, you should visit the dentist. The dentist is able to assess the patient’s teeth and knows the best teeth-whitening process to use. The dentist also advises the patient on how to handle the side effects of the procedure or product. Therefore, you should not just assume and use any product for teeth whitening that the West Midlands pharmacies sell.

Sensitive teeth

While we are talking about sensitivity, it is good to mention that about 10% of people notice sensitivity when the treatments are finished. This is a natural reaction to hydrogen peroxide that should be gone in less than one day. If the problem continues, use toothpaste for sensitivity and stay away from cold and hot foods.

DIY kits can also be very abrasive causing damage to the enamel that protects the surface of the teeth, leading to sensitive teeth. Enamel cannot be repaired and it is important that this is protected.

Should you wish to investigate the possibility of whitening your teeth speak to your dentist who will be able to give you expert advice.

When considering teeth whitening bear in mind this NHS warning:

“Only go to a registered dental professional for teeth whitening because whitening by people who aren't qualified, for example in beauty salons, is illegal. Home kits also carry risks.”

Why should I see a dental professional for teeth whitening?

The treatment applied when carrying out teeth whitening contains chemicals that effectively bleach the teeth. When done under the care of a dental professional a tailor-made mould will be created to fit teeth perfectly. The reason for this is to prevent the formula from leaking onto gums during treatment.

Without a specially made mould to hold the formula onto the teeth there is a chance that the gums and inside of the mouth could suffer burns or a reaction.

A trained dentist will be able to discuss the treatment with you as well as any potential reactions or side effects. In addition, they can assess the suitability of your teeth for whitening treatment and tell you what results you should expect to see.

Tailor-made treatment

Home teeth whitening kits are available although these generally do not benefit from patients being able to use a mould that is made specifically to fit their teeth.

When it comes to your dental health it is not worth taking a chance. Make sure that your teeth whitening treatment is safe and effective by always seeking treatment at a registered dentist.

Contact Bhandal Dental Practice for advice you can trust on teeth whitening.

Call us now to make an appointment

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