Does Teeth Whitening Damage Your Teeth?

August 4, 2022

People want whiter teeth and will go to great lengths to achieve just that. The possibility of tooth damage through teeth whitening is a risk that many people are willing to take for a better, brighter smile. While an amazing smile boosts confidence and improves the mood of those around you, many people are left to question whether the pain of sensitivity is worth it 

We’re here to say that tooth damage nor sensitivity do not and should not be the norm for tooth whitening patients. 

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

Does Teeth Whitening Cause Tooth Damage?

Teeth whitening can leave lasting and permanent damage to your teeth – but only if used incorrectly. Enamel erosion is a dangerous and permanent outcome of tooth whitening. Hydrogen peroxide, the main ingredient in many teeth whiteners, can damage tooth enamel if a person uses the solution incorrectly. 

Even though enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it can still become worn and chipped away; hence enamel erosion. Unfortunately, enamel has no living cells – meaning that once the damage is done, it will be permanent. 

Common Teeth Whitening Side Effects

Even when taking extra precautions to intricately follow through on every step of the teeth whitening process. Some side effects just cannot be avoided. 

Here’s a list of the common teeth whitening side effects that you may experience. Do note that some of these side effects are not permanent and may last up to 48 hours, at most. 

  • Sensitivity

Sensitivity can either be short-term or permanently damaging.

Short-term sensitivity may happen to those whose teeth are sensitive to peroxide. Your teeth may start to ache during the whitening procedure and you may feel some discomfort or sensitivity when drinking or eating hot or cold products for the next couple of days. 

Unfortunately, long-term tooth sensitivity can also be a problem.

Tooth sensitivity is also a common side effect of enamel erosion. A twinge of pain may occur whenever you consume cold or hot products and the only way to remedy this would be through dental bonding or crowning. 

Short-term sensitivity may come out even when all procedures and steps are followed down to the T. On the other hand, long-term sensitivity caused by enamel erosion only comes about when procedures aren’t strictly followed – so make sure to read the instructions!

  • Irritated Gums

Teeth whitening is generally safe but when instructions are misread and mishandled, irritated gums are more often than not a side effect. 

What causes these irritations? Again, it’s the amount of peroxide present in the tooth whitening products. Both hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide have been reported to irritate or even burn gums. 

The UNC School of Dentistry found that tooth sensitivity and gum irritation were two of the most common side effects of teeth whitening. Though these side effects did occur, they were typically resolved in 2 to 3 days and did not recur thereafter. 

How can you stop irritated gums from happening? Well, there are really only two steps: 1.) stop the treatment as soon as you feel a burning sensation in your mouth, and 2.) rinse your mouth with warm saltwater to swish away any lingering bleaching product and soothe the irritation.

So long as you stop the treatment quickly, the irritation or inflation will go away on its own after a few days. 

  • Damaging The Outer Enamel

The Faculty of Dentistry from the University of Sydney have found that the hardness and elastic modulus of enamel become significatnly reduced after treatments with peroxides at high concentrations. 

Essentially, when high concentrations of peroxide come into play, cracks and fractures within the microstructures of the teeth’s enamel. The study found that in high concentrations (greater than 16% carbamide peroxide and 35% hydrogen peroxide), tooth bleaching agents produce detrimental effects on the teeth’s outer enamel as a result of the deconstruction of its proteins. 

This is a fact well-known within the teeth whitening community. Hence, teeth whitening salons and treatments go through extreme measures to ensure that your teeth aren’t overexposed to peroxides or other bleaching agents.

There exists a race to create safe and effective whitening products while ensuring maximum effectiveness. And The Smile Bar? We’re at the leading edge of it. 

What You Can Do To Prevent Tooth Damage From Teeth Whitening

If your teeth have been damaged, then you can restore the appearance of eroded teeth through dental bonding or dental crowns. 

Dental bonding is the process where tooth-colored materials are applied and bonded to your teeth. During this procedure, the dentist applies tooth-colored resin to the affected tooth to invariably change the shape, size, and even color. 

Both methods are cost-effective and minimally invasive ways to repair your teeth if the teeth whitening process goes awry. Here’s the thing though: the materials will erode over time. Bonding materials will need to be retouched and dental crowns may chip, get loose, or, worse yet, fall off entirely.  

You’ll need to constantly have your teeth touched up, rebonded, or reapplied to maintain a great smile. 

This process also may require further treatment if you have extensive tooth decay, gum disease, or other serious issues that affect your oral health.

Of course, prevention is far better than cure.

The best thing you can do to prevent permanent damage to your teeth is to have your teeth whitened by a professional. The Smile Bar’s teeth whitening treatment is, at its heart, non-invasive and thus rarely causes any side effects. 

At most, our customers have experienced a slight tingling sensation after sessions but that’s only natural and disappears on its own after 24 hours. 

If you’re looking to have your teeth whitened by professionals, then surely The Smile Bar is the way to go!

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