A Center For Family Dentistry

Are There Side Effects to Teeth Whitening Treatment?

July 20, 2014 — by Keith Kelley, DDS
Tags: Teeth Whitening Cosmetic Dentistry

A women shows off her dazzling smileMany patients throughout the greater Troy area meet with Dr. Keith Kelley with an interest in brightening their smiles. This makes sense since there are so many substances that can stain the teeth, and major tooth discoloration can have a negative impact on your overall appearance. Even the most stained teeth can be brightened by professional teeth whitening, allowing patients to smile with renewed confidence.

While teeth whitening is very effective, we want to make sure that patients have realistic expectations about their treatment experience. Right now, we'd like to talk about side effects associated with teeth whitening treatment.

At-Home and In-Office Whitening Do Have Side Effects

Even though there are no drills or fillings or obvious revision of tooth structure during at-home or in-office teeth whitening, side effects do occur. Thankfully these side effects are very mild, though they are worth noting given how they can affect a patient's normal routine for the first few days after treatment.

Tooth Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

The most common side effect after teeth whitening treatment is tooth sensitivity. This is caused by the bleaching agent making contact with the tubules on a tooth, which are small holes in the tooth's dentin layer that lead into the interior pulp chamber and the root. When the bleaching agent penetrates the enamel layer, it triggers extra sensitivity from these tubules. This sensitivity passes in roughly three days or so.

How to Deal with Tooth Sensitivity After Teeth Whitening

The best advice for dealing with tooth sensitivity is to eat foods and drink beverages that are lukewarm in temperature for the first few days after treatment. This will prevent sudden sensations of sensitivity that can be triggered by temperature extremes.

When using at-home kits (whether professionally provided or purchased over the counter), it's important for patients to follow instructions to the letter. The teeth should only be exposed to the whitening gel for the recommended amount of time and no longer than that. This prevents extreme sensitivity.

Gum Irritation After Teeth Whitening

Another potential side effect of teeth whitening treatment is gum irritation, which is the result of the bleaching agent coming into contact with the gum tissue. This is more of an issue if a patient is using an at-home kit of some kind and is not attentive about wiping away excess bleaching agent.

How to Prevent Gum Irritation After Teeth Whitening

When teeth whitening is performed professionally, the dentist and the hygienist are attentive about potential exposure of bleaching agents to the gums. In some ways, professional treatment is the best way to avoid gum irritation.

When it comes to at-home kits, patients should be cautious when applying bleaching gel and wipe off any excess gel from their gums carefully.

Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment

If you would like more information about teeth whitening and your many other options for advanced cosmetic dentistry, be sure to contact our family dental care center today. We look forward to your visit and hope to give you the smile of your dreams.

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