When teeth whitening products are used to correctly and on a healthy mouth, then this cosmetic dental procedure is generally extremely safe. However it’s well worth pointing out that teeth whitening isn’t suitable for everyone, and some people may need to avoid using bleaching products, while others may have less than successful results from using over-the-counter or online whitening products. People who may need to avoid teeth whitening include:
- Children under the age of 16, as their teeth may well still be developing. The pulp chambers in children’s teeth are much larger than in adults, and the reason for this is that the pulp chamber contains all the nerves and blood supply necessary for the teeth to develop. Using whitening products while the teeth are still developing could cause the pulp chamber to become irritated, increasing tooth sensitivity. Children really shouldn’t need to have their teeth whitened anyway, as their teeth are likely to be naturally white.
- Pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding should really avoid teeth whitening during this period. Very little research has been conducted into whether or not teeth whitening is safe during pregnancy and while breast-feeding, so it’s best to just avoid it completely during these few short months.
- If you have particularly sensitive teeth or gums you will need to book a consultation with a dentist before using teeth whitening products. Your dentist will be able to tell you whether or not it’s safe to whiten your teeth, or if the products could make the sensitivity worse.
- If you have untreated oral health issues you should avoid teeth whitening. People with gum disease or untreated cavities need to avoid using bleaching products as it could well make these conditions worse, and is likely to prove extremely uncomfortable or even painful. People with teeth grinding issues will need to get this problem resolved before using whitening products, and may need to have teeth repaired before using any kind of bleach.
- If you have other general health issues you should consult your doctor or dentist before having your teeth bleached just in case it affects any treatments you might be having.
- If you already have porcelain crowns, bridges or veneers or you have had your teeth bonded you need to be aware that teeth whitening products will not affect these restorations as they cannot be bleached.
- Teeth that have become stained through excessive exposure to fluoride or through antibiotic use may not respond so well to traditional teeth bleaching methods. If you are in this position you may need to consult a dentist as some teeth may need bleaching internally, or may require crowning or veneers to give good aesthetic results.
Teeth Whitening, Realistically and Safely
Provided your mouth is healthy, and you are in good general health then teeth whitening should be extremely safe. It’s an excellent way to achieve a healthier and more youthful looking smile at an affordable price, but it’s important to keep your expectations realistic. Excessive teeth whitening will not only damage your teeth, but could also result in an extremely unnatural looking smile. As a general rule of thumb your teeth shouldn’t be much whiter than the whites of your eyes. Whichever teeth whitening product you choose to use it’s important to follow instructions to the letter, and to never overuse the product.