The past few decades have seen an explosion of tooth whitening products available, both over the counter (at-home) and professionally applied. Many still wonder, though, if teeth whitening is safe. Dr. Steve Kacel, dentist in the Highland Park, IL area, weighs in with his thoughts on the safety of various teeth whitening options.
Tooth whitening treatments are either performed in-office by a dentist, dispensed by a dentist for at-home use, or purchased independently/over the counter for at-home use. There are two main types: whitening toothpastes, and bleaching agents that contain peroxide. The toothpastes are generally taken home for use, while the others kinds can be administered by a dentist or used on your own. The choice will depend on the cause of the discoloration and how dark the teeth are.
At Home, Over the Counter Tooth Whitening
Highland Park, IL area dentist Dr. Kacel says that you should look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance when shopping for a whitening toothpaste or bleaching whitening kit. This seal guarantees that the product has been tested for quality, efficacy, and safety. The risk with these kits, according to your dentist near Deerfield, IL, is that they lack accuracy in their application. The whitening or bleaching agent – oftentimes peroxide – can cause irritation of the gums and oral tissues. These products can also cause tooth sensitivity, which cause some to stop using them altogether.
At Home, Dentist Dispensed Tooth Whitening
Home use kits, dispensed by a qualified dentist, can be an excellent compromise between over the counter products and in-office treatments, and deliver more noticeable results. When the product is recommended by a dentist, the patient can trust that it is a good brand, type, and value for them. Your dentist can also monitor your response to it and make adjustments based on your progress and sensitivity. These kits include custom molded trays, which fit the whitening gel right against the teeth, therefore avoiding much of the gum and tissue irritation.
In Office Teeth Whitening By a Dentist
Professionally applied teeth whitening treatments are available to patients who can not wear take home custom molded trays.
The ADA does encourage patients to at least consult with their dentist prior to using any kind of whitening product. Your dentist can explain if whitening treatments will work on you, what kind is ideal, and what results you can realistically expect.