If you are like the majority of the population, teeth-whitening could be the answer to your smile issues. However, there are some dangerous mistakes many people make about this process that can permanently ruin their smiles.
No matter what time of year it is, most people are always thinking about the next time they’re getting together with family for fun, fellowship, and lots and lots of pictures. Of those people, nearly one-third will also be worrying about their smiles and actually spend real, measurable time figuring out how to avoid being in those pictures because they “prefer not to show their smile,” and fully 81 percent of those people are worried because they “believe their teeth look unattractive in photographs.”
If you are among that very large population of people thinking about how to not smile for pictures, then you are probably also toying with ideas for effectively whitening your teeth in time for the next holiday. Before you try the latest, greatest, or allegedly fastest technique, be aware of some of the dangerous side effects of DIY tooth-whitening.
Dangerous Side Effect #1: Enamel Loss
Most off-the-shelf tooth-whitening products contain hydrogen peroxide that you either apply directly to your teeth in a paste or swish around in your mouth in a liquid. These products do work in most cases, although they become decreasingly effective as your teeth darken with age. The danger emerges when you try to get better results than these products can deliver. Over-use (more than once daily or multiple, consecutive cycles) can result in tooth sensitivity, inflammation of the tooth roots, and gum and tooth infections.
Dangerous Side Effect #2: Tooth Softening
While most people know that even responsible DIY tooth whitening can result in temporary or permanent tooth sensitivity, they usually do not realize this sensitivity is caused by minor damage to the top layer of enamel on the tooth. Research published in the Journal of Evidence Based Dental Practice also indicates, however, that not only can you end up with sensitive teeth, you can also cause softening in your tooth enamel. That is problematic because once the enamel softens, brushing and other daily cleaning activities can erode it further.
Dangerous Side Effect #3: Degradation of Dental Restorations
And, speaking of erosion, the same study also found that over-use of tooth-whitening products can also soften certain types of dental restorative materials, including some products used in filling cavities. As with your enamel, once these materials soften, daily hygienic practices can further wear them away.
Get Professional Advice on Teeth-Whitening Before Whitening at Home or in a Hurry
If you are thinking about teeth whitening in Kenosha, Wisconsin, or wherever you may be, before you start slathering on the home products, take the time for a fast consultation with your dentist. At Dr. Pat Crawford’s Kenosha dental office, we know that the first step to whitening teeth is to simply have a good, deep clean. In many cases, our patients find their teeth are much, much brighter than they expected after an annual cleaning. However, even if you want to whiten further, that annual cleaning is still imperative. Otherwise, you will just be whitening the plaque and buildup on your teeth instead of your teeth themselves!
If you find you still want to whiten your teeth after a cleaning, take a few minutes to talk with your dental professional about your options. You may benefit from a whitening that involves technology only available in-office, such as our 70-inch television screens that our technicians use to carefully examine every angle of every tooth in order to prevent “splotchy” whitening results and make note of any unusual characteristics in your dental structure that could affect the success of your teeth-whitening.
Dr. Crawford’s practice is located in the heart of Kenosha, Wisconsin. His patients travel from more than 30 miles away (in some cases) to have Dr. Crawford and his team work on their teeth. Learn more about Dr. Crawford by visiting PatCrawfordDDS.com.