Things to Know about Tooth Whitening

If you are considering tooth whitening, here are some things to keep in mind so you can make the right decision about your tooth whitening solution.

Tooth Whitening Compounds Are Safe for the Teeth, but Not for the Gums

Most tooth whitening approaches use a form of peroxide, which attacks the organic molecules that cause staining. It can also attack organic molecules in your gums, leading to irritation and receding gums. If you are using an at-home whitening solution, don’t get it on your gums. When a dentist performs tooth whitening or provides you with whitening trays, they are designed to protect your gums.

Professional Tooth Whitening Compounds Are Much Stronger Than Over-the-Counter (OTC) Options

Tooth whitening gels used in a dental office may be five times stronger or more than the over-the-counter whiteners you find at the drug store.

OTC Whiteners May Rely on Abrasives or Acid to Whiten Teeth

Because they are not allowed to be as strong, OTC whiteners try to get more whitening by using abrasives to scrape away stains (as well as enamel) or acid (that can also damage enamel) to remove organic compounds that cause stains. Over the long-term, these may make your teeth yellow as they thin the enamel and let the dentin underneath show through.

Sensitivity Causes and Prevention

Teeth sensitivity after tooth whitening is often caused by the removal of organic molecules that may block the tiny tubules that run from your tooth pulp to the tooth surface. When these are opened, your teeth are exposed to more temperature fluctuations. Many new professional whiteners contain compounds that reduce sensitivity.

If you would like to learn more about tooth whitening options, please contact Ascent Dental in the Cherry Creek area of Denver for an appointment.

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