The Risks of Teeth Whitening




Hi everybody! I’m Dr. Peter Wong. I’m a periodontist in Bellevue, WA, and today I want to talk about some of the concerns with tooth whitening. Now you may know we recently did a tooth whitening product evaluation where we evaluated five different teeth whitening products and we gave our opinion on all of them. With teeth whitening, there are also some concerns. Let’s talk about one major concern, and that is if you have crowns or fillings on your teeth those crowns or fillings are not going to whiten as your teeth will. So, you could have what’s called a rainbow effect, where you have different colors when you smile or your teeth are different colors because if you whiten them and the natural tooth whitens but the crowns and the fillings don’t, you’re going to have a problem. It’s going to look very strange. Number two, the teeth tend to be very, very sensitive, and that sensitivity can last for a few days. Depending on the product you use and how strong it is, sensitivity could be a concern and when you have the sensitivity that sensitivity is there because the pores, the pores in the teeth, actually are opened up by the bleaching product which also makes them actually more susceptible to staining for a few days after the whitening is done.

So picture the tooth as a sponge and after you whiten it’s like a sponge and it’s ready to absorb whatever comes into your mouth. Now if it’s water or things that don’t stain, you’re not going to have a problem, but if you have wine possibly coffee, tea, certain juices, grapefruit juice for sure, then it’s going to absorb that stain and the teeth may actually look worse than they did before because it absorbs the stain. So, you have to be really really care for those few days after the whitening. What I have a major concern about as a gum specialist is if the solution is very strong and it is in contact with your gum tissue and if your gum tissue is very thin, it can actually irritate the gum tissue, and if the tissue is thin it can actually cause that gum tissue to recede, particularly if you’re using some sort of a tray that is not adapted properly and can actually press on that gum tissue. By the way, when it comes to sensitivity, there are some things that you can use to reduce that sensitivity.

How to manage tooth sensitivity with Philips Zoom! Whitening? Read here!

Now also, as far as pregnancy is concerned, long-term studies have not really shown what possibly swallowing some of this bleach material, peroxide or peroxide-like materials what kind of effect it can have on the fetus we really don’t know. So, if you’re pregnant you might want to be a little cautious Some studies have shown that if your teeth are yellow they tend to whiten a little more effectively than if they’re grayish or brownish possibly from smoking. So some teeth are better candidates for whitening than others. Also, make sure your mouth is healthy because if you have gingivitis or gum disease bleaching could actually cause irritation and be quite painful and counterproductive. So make sure that your mouth is healthy before you attempt to have bleaching done, and as I’ve said before the healthier your mouth the healthier your body, and if you want to find out more about whitening products visit our zoom-whitening page.