Does teeth whitening damage teeth?

Have you ever heard that teeth whitening damages teeth? In this article we tell you about the effects of this treatment on oral health.

Last update: 27 March, 2022

Today there are many people looking to show off white and bright teeth. For this improvement of the appearance of the smile, the whitening of dental pieces is a widely used option. But sometimes teeth whitening damages teeth.

Teeth are not naturally white. In any case, fashions and trends lead people to idealize wearing a smile of this clean and radiant color.

As the years go by teeth darken. Age, diet and habits such as smoking or frequent coffee consumption stain teeth.

This is how tooth whitening has gained popularity. Well, it is a therapy that uses chemical substances to remove stains and pigments from dental surfaces. Therefore, it allows to improve the appearance of the smile.

But you should know that when looking for a whiter smile there are some risks and in this article we will tell you about them. Keep reading and find out how teeth whitening damages teeth.

Types of teeth whitening

As we already mentioned, tooth whitening is a dental procedure that It is used to improve the coloration of the smile. It consists of applying chemical substances capable of removing stains and reducing the color of the teeth.

There are different methods on the market to achieve a whiter and brighter smile. Before explaining the damage that this procedure can cause, let’s take a closer look at the different ways to whiten teeth.

Professional whitening in the dental office

For this type of teeth whitening, the patient must go to the office and the technique is performed by the dentist. The professional, before applying any substance on the mouth, evaluates the state of health.

It is important that this cosmetic procedure is not performed on damaged teeth. In the event that there are cavities, fractures or problems with the gums, the dentist will solve these problems.

Due to the previous evaluation, this type of teeth whitening is the least damaging to the teeth. Or at least the one that most reduces the risk of inconvenience.

Professional whitening can be done on the external face of the tooth or in the internal area of ​​the tooth. In the latter case, it is necessary to perform a previous endodontics. The choice of one or another procedure will depend on the needs of each clinical case.

To perform whitening, the dentist first thoroughly cleans the teeth and then protects the gums. Then place the whitening gel that contains high doses of lightening substances and let it act. Hydrogen or carbamide peroxide is used.

In some cases it is necessary to use LED lights to activate the bleaching agent. Also, sometimes two sessions are necessary. At the end of the procedure, a fluoride topication is performed to protect the teeth and reduce postoperative sensitivity.

Outpatient professional whitening

This type of teeth whitening It is performed by the patient at home under the instructions of the dentist. For this, the person must make a first visit to the dental office.

As in the previous method, the first thing the health professional does is to assess the state of the mouth and leave it fit. The dentist then takes an impression of the patient’s teeth and creates a custom tray for whitening.

Lastly, he performs a dental cleaning and instructs the patient to rinse the pieces at home. Furthermore, the professional delivers an outpatient kit containing the custom-made tray and the whitening gel.

Once at home, the patient uses the splint to place the whitening gel. He should put it on his mouth and let it act for the time indicated by the dentist. No more no less. Generally, it is used for 3 hours per day for a week.

Many times the dentist suggests using these home trays as a complement to whitening performed in the office.

Professional whitening treatment uses the activation of certain substances with a special light.

Over-the-counter lighteners and home methods

Due to the great interest in showing off beautiful smiles, a large number of options have appeared on the market. Some products are over-the-counter and are found in pharmacies. Others are home remedies recommended by magazines or internet pages.

For over-the-counter whiteners, the patient buys them and applies them by himself at home. It does so by following the directions specified on the labels.

Most contain abrasive substances or hydrogen and carbamide peroxide in low concentrations. The results are very subtle. and you need to use them for a long time.

Obtaining them easily and using them without the need to go to the dentist can lead to overusing them and damaging the oral tissues. The most used are the following:

  • Whitening toothpaste.
  • Whitening mouthwash.
  • Whitening strips.
  • Whitening pens.

On the other hand, natural or homemade methods they usually suggest the use of acidic or abrasive substances on tooth surfaces. Fruit acids such as oranges, strawberries or vinegars, activated carbon and bicarbonate are the most common products.

Instead of achieving dental whitening, the action of this type of substance on the enamel damages the teeth. Therefore, advice that promises white smiles should be taken with caution.

How does teeth whitening damage teeth?

There are some methods to lighten the teeth that are more at risk affect oral health than others. Teeth whitening performed or supervised by a dentist is the least damaging to teeth.

In any case, you should know that whatever technique is used, there is always a consequence on the tissues. Well, an external product is being applied that affects the dental surface.

Enamel is the outermost hard layer that covers and protects the crown of the teeth. Below is the dentin, a hard tissue, but more porous. In the innermost part of the element is the dental pulp, which contains the blood vessels and nerves.

The action of peroxides used to whiten teeth reduces the thickness of the outermost layer of the tooth. When applying these substances on the enamel, a loss of minerals in its composition is generated. This decreases the protection over the deeper tissues.

Also, the peroxides used in some whitening products break down the collagen in dentin. And if they are used in very high doses or repeatedly, the damage can affect the dental pulp. Thus, sensitivity is one of the most common complications after a whitening treatment.

Side effects of teeth whitening

As we told you, teeth whitening damages or affects the structure of the teeth. However, these effects do not always have repercussions on oral health.

Carrying out this type of treatment with qualified professionals helps to minimize the risks. Experienced hands, a controlled environment and the right products reduce unwanted effects.

Instead, there are products or ways of using them that can lead to consequences. Some of them are irreversible. Here are the side effects associated with teeth whitening:

  • Tooth sensitivity: It is a painful sensation when ingesting something hot or cold. It is common after whitening treatments, but usually disappears after a while. When performing the procedure with home methods, at home or very frequently, the sensitivity is usually more intense and long-lasting.
  • Enamel Wear: It is the mineral loss of the tissue that protects the teeth. This wear occurs mainly when using abrasive or highly acidic substances. You should know that this tissue does not regenerate again, so the damage is irreversible. A tooth with less enamel looks more yellow and is more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
  • Irritation of gums and oral mucosa: If the bleaching substances come into contact with the soft tissues of the mouth, they cause irritation and even burns.
  • Digestive problems: If the product is accidentally ingested, it can irritate the mucosa of the digestive system.
  • Allergy: some components of whitening products can trigger an allergic reaction.
  • Unexpected results: sometimes the patient may feel that their teeth do not look as white as they want or the effects are uneven from piece to piece. This happens, above all, when using methods of domestic use that have very subtle and short-lasting effects.
Tooth sensitivity is one of the adverse reactions that we can expect after whitening.

Is it bad to whiten your teeth?

Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment that improves the appearance of the mouth. And although it has repercussions on dental tissues, if it is supervised by a dentist it is considered an effective and safe method with few long-term risks.

So that the search for the perfect smile is not the origin of other problems, it is advisable to put yourself in the hands of an expert. The dentist will be the one who can best advise us on whether it is necessary and possible to perform this procedure in our mouth. And if so, what is the indicated method to follow.

Being able to communicate clearly with the professional helps you make an informed decision and know what to expect. Considering whether the stains to be removed can be removed with tooth whitening, for example, will prevent disappointment in the future. Also, if there are fillings in the mouth, you should know that these will not be affected by the product and it can cause an appearance of little uniformity in the color of the smile.

As we already told you, dental evaluation prior to treatment is of the utmost importance. The dentist will be able to verify that there are no active cavities, periodontal disease, sensitivity or a very worn enamel. Otherwise, the pertinent treatments must be carried out or whitening should be avoided.

Teeth whitening is not recommended in pregnant women, during lactation and in those under 18 years of age.

Minimize the risks

Although all teeth whitening damages the teeth in some way, side effects can be minimized. Opting for professional treatment performed by qualified dentists reduces the chances of suffering unwanted consequences.

Our advice is to try to avoid experimenting with home remedies that promise flawless smiles. And if you decide to use at-home whitening kits that rely on your skill, do so responsibly. You should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and consult your dentist before starting therapy.

dentists They are the most prepared people to help you show off white and bright teeth. Put yourself in hands that know what they are doing to prevent damage and achieve that beautiful smile you want.

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