Are There Side Effects with Teeth Whitening?

Cosmetic Dentistry

The purpose of this article is to assist the general populous in being an informed consumer of the practice of teeth whitening and thus bring about the ability to ask the necessary questions in a teeth whitening discussion with their personal dentist, who best knows and understands the condition of a patient's teeth.

Basic Facts

  • Teeth are translucent and naturally a yellow color with greyish tint due to the second layer, the yellow ‘hard’ tissue called the dentin, showing through the enamel
  • Teeth are considered a porous material made up of many tiny holes
  • The hardest substance in the body is tooth enamel but if the enamel becomes worn down, tooth sensitivity can occur when the nerve endings of the tooth are exposed
  • Teeth discoloration naturally occurs from aging and foods that contain compounds like chromogens and tannins. Tannins and acidic foods can cause the enamel to weaken and become easier for food staining to occur.

Do-it-yourself teeth whitening

When considering those DIY teeth whitening kits, be aware that if the bleaching agent is not put on evenly, white patches can occur on the tooth enamel and your smile will be unevenly colored.

Over-the-counter products

Whitening strips purchased at the local pharmacy are quite popular for the ease of use but if they are used other than as directed, tooth sensitivity can occur as well as white spots on the gums. The teeth whitening may be uneven as the strips do not always cover every nook and cranny of the tooth surface. Some toothpaste brands state that they are a whitening product, but they may just simply be more abrasive in nature and if you brush too hard with abrasive toothpaste, you risk wearing down that hard protective enamel.

Over-the-counter treatments are less costly but if they are used too frequently and instructions are not followed, there is a risk of damaging tooth enamel and bringing about gum irritation. Since teeth whitening will not work on dental restorations such as fillings, crowns and bonded teeth, the result of whitening can be a mismatch of color shades. Inexpensive whitening products may have higher levels of peroxide, which can also weaken teeth and bring about susceptibility to cracking and fracturing.

In-office professional whitening

Professional teeth whitening is the best, safest and quickest way of removing surface teeth stains. Dentists use a UV lamp to hasten the whitening process and they apply the correct dose of peroxide gel. The only small side effects felt after a professional whitening are an increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks, possible inflammation in the cheeks and/or gums and dry and chapped lips for 48 hours after the professional procedure are possible.

Schedule an appointment now

It is important to discuss your options with a dentist to find the best teeth whitening treatment.

The best part?

You can request a dental appointment here: or call Metro Smiles Dental at (718) 841-9591 for an appointment in our Forest Hills dental office.

Recent Posts

Dental Implant Restoration: What Are The Different Parts Of A Dental Implant And Crown?

Dental Implant Restoration: What Are The Different Parts Of A Dental Implant And Crown?

The dental implant restoration procedure has improved significantly over the years. Technology has played a vital role in its improvement. The dental implant process can be used to replace one or more of your lost teeth. An implant tooth can help to restore your smile. In many cases, it can be a better alternative than…

FAQs About CEREC® Crowns

FAQs About CEREC® Crowns

When someone has a broken or damaged tooth, CEREC® crowns are one of the restoration options that a dentist might recommend. A dental crown is a tooth prosthesis that covers the tooth to protect it from additional damages. With traditional dental crowns, the process can take a few weeks and multiple appointments to complete. CEREC®…