In the United States, there is a high demand for ruler straight, and vibrant white teeth. This is entirely understandable. Many people base their first impressions almost entirely on appearance: what kind of clothes you wear, your hair style, and most importantly your teeth. As we age our teeth will naturally lose their whiteness, and there are certain habits such as smoking or frequently drinking coffee that accelerate this process. This combined with the pursuit of the nearly unnatural “Hollywood Smile” is one of the main reasons why people attempt teeth whitening in their own home; however, are the risks associated with at-home whitening worth pearly white teeth?
What Whitening Does to Your Teeth
Tooth whitening works by exposing your teeth to bleaching agents, usually in the form of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These bleaching agents, in turn, help whiten your teeth by diffusing the enamel and breaking drown chromogenic compounds, also known as discoloring compounds. This would be all fine and good, but these bleaching agents have been shown to progressively weaken enamel, especially with overuse, and because at-home kits have less peroxide than those at the dentist, overuse is common. It is important to remember that your teeth will reach a point where they will not whiten any further, and this varies from person to person.
If you are experiencing pain or soreness when consuming hot or cold drinks, typically known as tooth sensitivity, it is advised that you stop using any teeth whitening regiment that you are on. Cracks or cavities, along with any defective restorations can lead to tooth sensitivity, and you may not notice small imperfections without visiting a dentist first. Gum sensitivity and irritation is also a common symptom of whitening overuse that you should be looking out for.
Keep it to Professionals
While at-home teeth whitening is definitely more convenient than scheduling a dental appointment, it is important to realize that you may be biting off more than you can chew. If you are adamant about whitening at home it is best to at least consult with a dentist before starting a new whitening regiment as they can give you some guidelines to follow.
If you are in the Austin area, and are interested in having teeth whitening done by a professional, please consider Dr. Dan Matthews. He uses a whitening method called Zoom tooth whitening which uses a combination of specialized gel and light that penetrates the enamel and cleans away chromogenic compounds. Best of all, it only takes three fifteen minute sessions! If you have any questions about teeth whitening or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Dan Matthews, DDS at 512-452-2273 today.