August 22, 2021 by Dr. Abhi Singh

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

Many people are interested in teeth whitening. They want to have a whiter smile and to make them more attractive. When you choose to whiten your teeth, be aware that some side effects should be considered before proceeding with the treatment. 

This cosmetic dentistry treatment can be done using various methods, including in-office professional whitening procedures, take-home customised trays and gel, and the use of DIY bleaching. However, some studies have shown that the changes to the enamel surface may be irreversible, which means they could wear away over time. 

This blog post will discuss some of the common side effects of tooth whiteners, the potential risks involved, and how they can be addressed.

What Is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is the process of removing stains from tooth enamel, giving you a bright smile. This technique has been around for centuries. Furthermore, it is a popular cosmetic dental method that is painless, effective and affordable.

One way to improve the appearance of teeth and boost your confidence is by whitening your teeth. The process is quick and inexpensive compared to other cosmetic procedures like veneers. It can be done in-chair professionally at the dentist’s office or at-home as-needed between treatments.

Differences in teeth will influence the success rates for whitening the teeth. Some patients require a few treatments, while others need more based on their teeth’s opacity, transparency, and fluorescence.

Learn More: What Is Teeth Whitening: Everything You Need To Know

Possible Side Effects of Teeth Whitening 

Teeth whitening is a common procedure. In recent years, more people have become aware of the benefits the treatment can offer. Though it’s effective and provides immediate results, there are negative dental side effects that patients need to consider. The bleaching solution used for this process can cause a high level of sensitivity or may have other perceived side effects.

Possible side effects of teeth whitening include the following:

Sensitivity

The sensitivity that you experience during the whitening process is temporary. It is normal due to the exposure of dentin during treatment that would otherwise be protected by enamel.

Moreover, it’s always important to consult a dentist before you decide to whiten your teeth. It is essential if you have tooth sensitivity because it indicates that the enamel on your pearly whites has already been damaged and needs protection. They would give some advice on what type of process is best suited for sensitive teeth.

Your dental hygienist may be able to recommend some brands of teeth whiteners that are gentle on your teeth and help reduce the risk of tooth sensitivity during the process.

Soft Tissue Irritation 

A Chemical burn is one of the many risks associated with teeth whitening. The solution can irritate soft tissues like your gums and oral mucosa, exposing them and leaving them feeling raw or sore for days after use.

Furthermore, the strong whitening agent will cause your gums to turn white as soon as they come into contact with them. It is mainly the case if the whitening solution is the one used in professional whitening procedures. Still, much of the irritation from teeth whitening products will dissipate, and the soft tissue will return to normal shortly after exposure. However, patients would worry about seeing their gums after exposure to hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

Moreover, exposure to teeth whitening products like gels or solutions for an extended time may also cause gum inflammation, gingival irritation, and slight redness in the affected area. Note that bleeding and pain may occur in severe cases of gum irritation due to exposure to tooth-bleaching agents.

Long Term Side Effects of Teeth Whitening 

When it comes to teeth bleaching, you don’t want too much of a good thing. Overdoing the procedure can lead to permanent dental damage and ruin your natural tooth appearance in an instant. The process is best done with care so that there’s no over-whitening or any other irreversible damage. If things have gone too far, restorative materials like veneers might be necessary for dental restoration.

There are many side effects of teeth whitening that will only last for a short period of time. Still, other negative consequences can result from an excessively long bleaching process. For example, the normal intensity of tooth sensitivity may be experienced during the first few days following treatment while it is still in effect. However, excessive and prolonged use could cause adverse effects like permanent nerve damage to your teeth due to over-exposure.

If you bleach your teeth too much, it will cause enamel damage, and it will start to wear away, which then affects their colour. To reverse this side effect of bleaching, use toothpaste or mouthwash with fluoride that strengthens the enamel on your teeth. However, if it is already heavily damaged, dental bonding or porcelain veneers may be needed.

Learn More: Cost of Teeth Whitening: Detailed Breakdown

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Most teeth whitening products contain a harmless solution of hydrogen peroxide. This ingredient will break down into water and oxygen during the bleaching process. Furthermore, the possible side effects can include tooth sensitivity and irritation. However, when overdone, it may cause irreversible dental enamel erosion.

For those who want to brighten their teeth quickly and inexpensively, over-the-counter products are a good option. The most crucial step in using OTC products is to follow the directions closely. At home, whitening your teeth with hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide can take as little as 10 to 30 minutes. It will work so long as the products are around 5 to 10% hydrogen peroxide level or 35% carbamide peroxide concentration. Furthermore, the treatment is safe, and you can repeat the process over a few days if necessary.

On the other hand, professional in-office bleaching treatments last for 30 minutes. The solution contains a higher concentration of peroxide-based gels at 25 to 40% and is only required every six to twelve months.

However, non-peroxide treatments can be used, so patients do not have to worry about tooth sensitivity issues, though they are not as effective as those containing H2O2. In general, patients need to consider several factors when deciding whether to have their teeth professionally whitened or not. For the safety of the patients, the cosmetic dentist must evaluate their dental condition and review their dental history before proceeding with tooth whitening.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe for Pregnant Women?

There is a safety issue surrounding this office whitening procedure while pregnant. Dentists recommend postponing non-essential dental procedures such as teeth whitening during pregnancy.

Due to the discomfort caused by lying still for a prolonged period of time and the possible risks of applying this kind of treatment while pregnant, whitening treatments should be avoided, especially during the third trimester.

Furthermore, avoid using a high concentration of hydrogen peroxide solution that is more than 6%. Higher concentration gels can be unsafe for home use; thus, only a dental professional can administer this strength.

Learn More: Teeth Whitening While Pregnant: Is It Safe?

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this blog post informative. If you’re considering getting your teeth professionally whitened, make sure to speak with the dentist about any questions or concerns that may arise before committing to treatment. Remember, it’s not just what happens during the procedure but also how you take care of yourself afterwards, determining whether or not there are long-term repercussions from this process. 

Whether you’re interested in the convenience of an office procedure or want to try over-the-counter bleaching products at a lower cost per use, we have what you need! If this sounds like it could be beneficial for your oral health goals, give us a call today at 08 9532 0247 and get started on the path towards whiter teeth and a perfect smile.

AboutDr. Abhi Singh
Dr Abhi is a member of the Australian Dental Association and loves living and working in our community. He has over a decade of experience in all aspects of dentistry with a special interest in implants, wisdom teeth removal and cosmetic dentistry.