Here is an interesting fact about teeth whitening. Did you know that out of the millions of Americans who use an over the counter teeth whitening solution this year, one in every twenty-five (1:25) will have to be seen by a dentist for a level of pain or discomfort? This pain varies from the mild and bearable to the “I’m in so much pain, a root canal sounds good”. It is important to note that this isn’t because teeth whitening is bad, in fact, when we perform the procedure it is pain-free. The discomfort is typically caused by ill-fitting trays or overuse.
Solutions for teeth whitening have been around forever. The earliest tooth brushing was invented to try and keep teeth white and healthy while ancient cultures are known to have rubbed charcoal on their teeth to make them whiter. Needless to say men, and women, have been obsessed with having white teeth for a very long time. Enter the modern world where consumerism drives everything, and there are now a million solutions available easily, and over the counter, at your local pharmaceutical store. While convenience is wonderful, it also carries its own set of risks as many people whiten without the help of a professional.
The massive influx of products has created the only known problem with teeth whitening. Overuse is a common and sometimes painful problem for people who whiten their teeth. But why do people overuse the products? We believe that the answer is simple and starts with the quest for the perfect white teeth and brilliant smile. Over-the-counter products do a great job of getting the smile back the first time. However, what most will not tell you is that after a while, a smile starts to fade, and the brilliance of the teeth’s whiteness starts to diminish. Naturally the teeth will once again start to stain and return to a less than optimal color that is more natural. This is upsetting to some people, and the tendency is to then use the product again, and again, and keep using it every time the smile fades even slightly.
As dentists, we recommend not using a whitening product more than once every 4 to 6 months. This avoids overuse and protects your gums from getting irritated from over exposure to the bleach and other chemicals that are found in the whitening agents. Teeth whitening is designed to help whiten your teeth, but not on a monthly basis. Frequent users, sometimes whitening their teeth more than once a month, are at greater risk for irritation or applying the product to a cavity or infected gum. Any of these scenarios can lead to discomfort.
Our advice is simple. Don’t overuse over the counter teeth whitening products. If you want your teeth to get whiter, have the procedure done at our office instead. Our solutions are more effective than anything you can buy at the store and we will ensure your comfort during the process.