A recently published story details the scary experience one man had with an at-home tooth whitening kit. He purchased the kit online to save money. But the gel it contained was too strong and the high levels of hydrogen peroxide actually burned his voice box. He subsequently had to undergo extensive dental treatments to help repair the damage.
According to dentist Columbia Dr. Gregory Wych, crowns, veneers and white fillings are also vulnerable to damage. In more serious cases, if the hydrogen peroxide content of the gel is too strong, it can burn and blister the throat, mouth, gums, lips – and as in this particular example – the larynx. Risks connected with tooth whitening include sensitivity and damage to the roots.
Your dentist Columbia finds that overall, tooth whitening is relatively successful. As a rule of thumb, teeth that have yellowed respond well to whitening, while brownish-colored teeth don’t. Gray stains caused by smoking or ingestion of too much fluoride will probably not be dramatically changed by tooth whitening.
Likewise, tooth whitening may not improve your smile if you have bonding or tooth-colored fillings in your front teeth. The whitener will not have any effect on the color of these materials, and will therefore not match your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to investigate other options such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding on other teeth.
Before you decide to whiten your teeth, your dentist Columbia wants you to consider these facts:
- Not all stains can be lightened by over-the-counter or professional bleaching – your dentist will be able to give you guidance.
- Always check your specific plan coverage before undergoing any dental procedure or treatment.
- The Academy of General Dentistry recommends dentist supervision for any whitening treatment, even over-the-counter preparations. If you want quicker and more reliable results, you should ask us about in-office whitening or laser whitening.
Whether or not you decide to whiten your teeth, keep in mind that good daily oral health habits like brushing and flossing and regular checkups and cleanings go a long way in keeping your smile bright and healthy.