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Are there side effects to teeth whitening?

If you're considering improving the appearance of your teeth and wondering if there are any side effects to whitening, this post is for you. Our dentists in Vancouver list potential side effects you may experience, along with how safe the procedure is generally and what you and your dentist can do to address discomfort.

Why would I whiten my teeth?

Teeth whitening is a common cosmetic procedure. Therefore, it does not offer any benefits for your oral health. That said, many people find that they feel more confident when smiling if they have white teeth. In addition, having a sparkling white smile can encourage you to maintain an exceptional at-home oral hygiene routine. 

As we age, our teeth can become discoloured for numerous reasons, whether because we take certain medications, smoke cigarettes or eat or drink dark-coloured food and beverages. Some patients may also experience tooth decay or damage. 

Whitening your teeth is one way to minimize the appearance of discolouration. This procedure is relatively safe, effective and minimally invasive. 

What are my options for teeth whitening?

You can see your dentist for professional whitening treatments, or purchase over-the-counter whitening products from your local pharmacy. 

The three primary whitening methods are:

  • Professional bleaching provided in-office by your dentist (we use Spa-Dent Whitening for quick removal of stains and effective results). 
  • Professional at-home bleaching kits offered by your dentist 
  • Teeth whitening products available over the counter, without supervision from your dentist

What are potential side effects of teeth whitening?

Most side effects you may experience with teeth whitening are temporary and minor. Common side effects include: 

Irritated Gums 

The teeth whitening solution may irritate your gums temporarily if it comes into contact with them. This side effect will probably fade away shortly after your treatment. 

Sensitive Teeth 

You may notice that your teeth are more sensitive in the days following your teeth whitening treatment. This sensitivity will likely not last more than a week or two. In the meantime, your dentist may be able to recommend products containing sodium fluoride and potassium nitrate to treat the sensitivity. 

Remember that teeth whitening does not permanently whiten your teeth — you'll need touchups every so often. Also keep in mind that teeth whitening does not work on restorations such as bridges, crowns, dentures and implants. 

Talk to your dentist about whether teeth whitening is right for you. If you have certain dental work in progress or active cavities are an issue, your dentist may recommend against this procedure. 

Dentist-approved teeth whitening methods are considered safe. Make sure to discuss your options with your dentist and choose the one that matches your needs. Always follow the instructions for the product and contact your dentist if you experience any side effects. 

Are you wondering if you are a candidate for teeth whitening? Contact your Vancouver dentist to schedule a consultation today.

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