A recent survey revealed that 80% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 want whiter teeth. And according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, Americans spent more than $1.4 billion on over-the-counter, at-home teeth whitening products last year. But is it worth it? Sure, whitening your teeth at home might seem more convenient, maybe even cheaper, but in the long run, you could save yourself time, money, and even some pain by visiting a dentist for teeth whitening. Here are three reasons you should not DIY your teeth whitening procedure.
At-Home Kits Simply Aren’t As Effective
You’ve seen those incredible before and after pictures in at-home teeth whitening ads, but are they legit? Science says no. In reality, when you go to a dentist they are permitted to use peroxide concentrations of up to 40%; at-home kits can only use solutions of 20%. That means the equipment and products available to esthetic dentistry professionals are way more effective than what you would get at home. Those DIY kits may only brighten your teeth by a couple of shades. And what’s more, whitening strips, in particular, cannot reach deep into the crevices between teeth, so you’re bound to get uneven color.
You Might Not Have All the Facts
Do you actually know that you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening? There might be things in your dental history that make teeth whitening just a bit more challenging for you. For instance, if you’ve had restorative dental work done, you might not get the best results with at-home whitening methods. Often, the materials used in bridges, bonding, crowns, and veneers won’t actually change color with the use of at-home whitening kits. This can lead to uneven whitening as your natural teeth brighten but surrounding crowns or veneers don’t change at all.
And what about braces? High-quality dental care practitioners know that home whitening kits should never be applied to teeth with braces. Like with other restorative dental work, you’ll end up whitening only the portion of the teeth that comes in contact with the whitening gel, leading to uneven color. Additionally, the metal in the braces could oxidize and rust, changing color and becoming more brittle and likely to break.
Ultimately, if you’re not an esthetic dentistry professional, you don’t have all the facts and should not take on a procedure like this at home.
You Might Do More Harm Than Good
In general, teeth whitening is not dangerous, but without the guidance of an esthetic dentistry professional, you could end up harming your teeth.
What you may not realize is that most at-home teeth whitening kits include peroxide, a chemical that some people are actually allergic to. It’s always safer to undergo even the most basic esthetic dentistry procedure, like teeth whitening, under the supervision of medical professionals.
The fact is that there’s simply a greater chance of human error when using an at-home whitening kit. While minor sensitivity is common after teeth whitening, when doing this by yourself, you could increase sensitivity to your gums or dentin. And in rare cases, tooth damage can occur, especially if you suffer from gum disease or untreated cavities. In severe cases, you could inflict permanent damage to your teeth and gums. And the risk doesn’t stop there; while UV DIY kits claim to be safe, studies show that these at-home whitening methods can lead to stomach problems, mouth infections, receding gums, and even nerve damage.
Teeth whitening is certainly not a DIY project. For the safest methods and best results, visit a dentist with the right experience and tools to give you a brighter smile.