How Dangerous Is Teeth Whitening?

In search of that perfect white smile many people have turned to teeth whitening products and procedures but without fully understanding that there may be risks attached. Many High Street chemists sell tooth whitening kits and some beauty parlours even offer to carry out the procedure at a much lower price than a trained dental professional or dentist. But the old adage “if it seems too good to be true it probably is” applies here to the full extent. Not all kits work as well as they claim and some can be dangerous to your dental and physical health.

Risks Attached

Having your teeth cleaned, polished and whitened by a dental professional is the safest method of achieving that sought-after perfect smile. Buying a tooth whitening system and doing it yourself at home may be cheaper but there could be long-term detrimental after-effects. As sales of DIY tooth whitening kits have increased in recent years so has the number of people seeking dental attention for problems caused by home treatment.

These problems include:

  • Gum irritation
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Damaged roots
  • Damage to existing dental work
  • Chemical burns from leaking gel
  • Sickness from swallowing the whitening agent

While many home tooth whitening kits are safe to use this may not always be the case and extreme caution should be taken before even considering making a purchase either online or in shops. The British Dental Association (BDA) warns that many manufacturers fail to disclose the exact chemical composition of their products making it difficult to evaluate their safety. One UK online retailer was selling teeth whitening kits that contained sodium perborate, a chemical banned by the European Union and linked to infertility and cases of foetal abnormalities.

Does Tooth Whitening Work?

For 90% of patients tooth whitening works very well but that percentage applies to people who were treated by professionals and not those who carried out the procedure themselves. Teeth will naturally discolour with age and everyday habits like smoking, drinking tea, coffee, red wine and even certain medications will dull their natural whiteness. Sometimes all that is required is a thorough cleaning by a dentist to remove most of the discolouration but sometimes tooth whitening will be necessary. Yellowed teeth will generally respond well to whitening treatment while it may not achieve the same results on brown-coloured teeth. Before deciding to have any whitening procedure it is advisable to consult with a dental professional to determine if tooth whitening is suitable for you and advise of any possible complications that may arise.

Better Safe Than Sorry

There are literally dozens of products on the market that claim to whiten your teeth but how many can you trust to deliver on that promise and are they safe to use? Dentists and dental clinics are fully trained to not only clean and whiten teeth but to do so in a regulated and safe manner. A qualified dentist will treat each case on an individual basis and carry out examinations to be sure the client is suitable for treatment and which form of whitening is best. Certainly you can be lucky with an over-the-counter tooth whitening kit which may work wonders for your smile but, then again, you may not! It would be far better and safer to put yourself in the hands of someone who is trained and qualified in teeth whitening procedures than run the risk of damaging your teeth, gums or worse!