Everyone wants their teeth to be whiter — at least, 80% of Americans between the ages of 18 to 49, according to a recent survey. Now, teeth whitening is an aesthetic issue rather than one that is health-related, which is why it might be tempting to try to do it on your own. But this would, for reasons we’ll explore below, be a potentially major mistake.
In this day and age, there are plenty of dentists offering teeth whitening services. You no longer have to deal with subpar or even horrible results when you have your teeth professionally whitened at a dental office. So, what are the risks that come with attempting to whiten your teeth on your own?
Remember, most home teeth whitening kits include bleach. This isn’t an ingredient to take lightly; it can seriously hurt you if used incorrectly. Teeth whitening gel is meant to be applied to your teeth, but it’s all too easy to swallow it. Not only does this gel often contain bleach; peroxide is a common ingredient as well. While swallowing this type of gel in small quantities probably isn’t going to kill you, it will potentially harm your digestive tract and stomach if consumed in large quantities.
For a lot of people, this simply isn’t worth the risk. Not only can the bleach hurt your stomach; it can potentially burn your gums as well. You need to do whatever you can to avoid having the gel touch your gums, but this is sometimes easier said than done. When you seek professional cosmetic dental care, you don’t need to worry about swallowing whitener or having your gums burned. Your cosmetic dentist will ensure that your gums are shielded and that you are prevented from swallowing the whitener itself.
Unless you are a medical professional or dentist, you will not know exactly how the ingredients in home whitening kits will affect you and your teeth. You could have an unexpected chemical reaction, which may have long term effects. Additionally, the slightest incorrect usage could potentially affect your teeth for the rest of your life.
Some of the most common chemical reactions include prolonged tooth sensitivity. This will likely cause you pain or sensitivity when you eat or drink something cold. Often, this occurs because the nerves within the teeth are irritated during the whitening process. You could also have trouble breathing after a home whitening kit. This is often due to an unexpected allergic reaction. Cosmetic dentists are careful about not only ensuring that their patients lack allergies before whitening, but also about monitoring them during the whitening procedure. It will be stopped as soon as a reaction begins; you may not be able to tell the warning signs in yourself before it’s too late. People can even develop mouth infections and burns due to home whitening kits. Unfortunately, a lot of people just don’t take these kits very seriously.
Yes, your tooth enamel, which is supposed to last you for a lifetime, can be permanently damaged if you try to white your teeth yourself. Oftentimes, there is a risk that the gel used in home whitening kits will actually scratch off the first layer of enamel on a tooth. This is what causes sensitivity, but it also leaves the teeth much weaker afterward, and more susceptible to chipping.
You may simply achieve bad results, whether your teeth become discolored due to the whitening gel or simply aren’t white enough. It can take a long time for teeth to be whitened when you use home whitening kits, while dental care professionals can usually execute teeth whitening within a matter of an hour and a half. The last thing you want is to spend money and time on a home whitening kit, only for your teeth to be either the same or worse afterward.
There are a lot of benefits to having your teeth whitened. You’ll feel better about yourself and for that matter be able to put your best foot forward after investing in teeth whitening. Just don’t try it at home.