Who doesn’t love the convenience of being able to conduct business from the comforts of home? The idea of not having to deal with traffic or weather conditions while traveling to an appointment is alluring. But, your Metairie dentist warns that there are some things that possibly aren’t wise to be attempted at home. One of them is dental whitening without first consulting your dentist. Read further to learn why in practice teeth whitening is safer than attempts without dental supervision.
Does Over-The-Counter Whitening Work?
To evaluate the effectiveness of over-the-counter whitening, it’s important to compare the positive and negative aspects of it.
- Pros – Over-the-counter teeth whitening is attractive for a few reasons. For starters, it allows the purchaser to conduct the process without having to schedule an appointment. It also costs far less to purchase whitening trays over-the-counter than to have the procedure done through a dentist.
- Cons – The greatest drawback to in-home teeth whitening without dentist supervision is the decline in safety. Faulty handling of bleaching agents can damage the gums and other soft tissues in the mouth, causing sores and discomfort.
Next, over-bleaching can cause increased sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. And activities like smoking, drinking coffee, tea, or eating blueberries, which stain the teeth more, sometimes encourage over-bleaching.
Finally, the results from non-dentist-supervised in-home bleaching typically don’t last as long as procedures done under a dentist’s care.
What are Some Better Options for Whitening?
A more effective alternative for teeth whitening is to get professional bleaching trays from your dentist. This is done after a visit and conversation about your desires, developing a strategy that will work best for you. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and design custom bleaching trays to fit your teeth. You’ll also be given a bleaching agent to be put in the trays and applied at home daily for one to two weeks. In situations where needed, these trays can be used in addition to bleaching treatments done in-office by your dentist.
A final option is to have the procedure done in-office. This involves a laser bleaching treatment, where a barrier is put around the gum tissue and a strong bleach is put on the teeth. A laser light is then used to activate the bleach and make it work.
Although the most involved of the three options, it is the safest. Your gums are protected because your dentist is there to monitor the powerful bleaching agents.
Finally, in-office bleaching results typically last twice as long as those of over-the-counter options, offering almost instant gratification, as teeth are drastically whiter after an hour of treatment.
The best plan of action is to visit your dentist before considering teeth whitening to develop a protocol that will be the safest and most effective.
About the Author
A graduate of Louisiana State University with two Bachelor of Science Degrees in Zoology and Microbiology, Dr. Mayda Ferguson completed her doctorate in dentistry in 2000. She would go on to complete her General Practice Residency at the VA Medical Center in New Orleans the following year. A proud Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, she constantly works to stay current with all the latest dental techniques and technology. She practices at Second Line Family Dentistry, where they welcome patients to “Contact us.” To learn more about Dr. Ferguson visit her website.