Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

In Australia, the popularity of teeth whitening is surging, particularly amongst those aged under 35, thanks to social media advertising and celebrity-endorsements. Teeth whitening has become one of the biggest crazes on Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Facebook.  However, before considering a cosmetic dental procedure such as teeth whitening its important to consider the possible risks for unwanted side effects and complications.

The Australian Dental Board found that a staggering 50% “who whiten their teeth are buying whitening do-it-yourself (DIY) products/kits available over-the-counter in pharmacies, and whitening kits sold online” [1].  Consumers particularly those who are young are less likely to be aware of the risks of teeth whitening, often purchasing whitening kits online and the comments that are being left are suggesting that the whitening gels and strips are being applied on almost a weekly basis, and for longer than recommended durations. The side effects can be detrimental to one’s oral health when not completed under the guidance of a licensed dental practitioner. Since teeth whitening products are classified as cosmetic, rather than a therapeutic good (medical device), these service providers are often un-regulated, un-licensed and frequently source their materials and equipment from eBay or third-party importers straight out of China. 

When performed by a suitably licensed and qualified dental practitioner, teeth whitening is COMPLETELY SAFE with minimal risk for side effects. This is because dental practitioners are qualified to assess your teeth and gums and provide professional advice tailored to your unique needs. Clients with active decay or gum disease are not suitable to undergo professional whitening until these concerns have been addressed. Because tooth decay affects the integrity of the enamel, it often causes an opening/hole in this protective layer exposing the underlying nerve and dentine (supporting structure) of the tooth. If a bleaching gel come into contact with dentine or the nerve it WILL cause extreme sensitivity, discomfort and even pain.

Teeth whitening administered by a dental professional will help you achieve your whitening goal in your desired timeframe. They are able to use bleach up to a 35% hydrogen peroxide concentration, a strength that can penetrate tooth enamel and lift deep stains.  Dental professionals are also able to source reputable whitening brands such as Philips Zoom! and Pola Office. These products are made in the USA and Australia respectively.  These whitening products offer another tier of safety as they re-mineralise and desensitize while they whiten, protecting your enamel.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe

Top Tips to Ensure Safe Teeth Whitening

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime – and they perform a very important functional role, as well as an aesthetic one. So why would you take any risks with subpar whitening products that may compromise integrity. Here are 7 tips from Smiles by Natasha to keep in mind before whitening.

Remember:

  1. Check with your dental professional first before you whiten
  2. Purchase your whitening products from the dentist/dental practitioner
  3. Follow the instructions provided by your dental professional if using a take-home whitening kit. DO NOT exceed the wear time advised
  4. Don’t believe all the false or misleading claims you read – generally if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
  5. Keep in mind that ‘natural’ whitening ingredients probably won’t be able to brighten your smile like promised
  6. Do not use any whitening products containing more than 6% hydrogen peroxide at home, unless you’re under the guidance of a dental practitioner
  7. Lastly you can’t whiten your teeth indefinitely. Once you’ve achieved your desired whiter and brighter shade, its time to give the bleaching a rest. Your whitening results should last for at least 6 to 12 months and if not, it will be safe to whitening again under the instruction of a dental practitioner

Interested in teeth whitening, or still wondering if its safe? Don’t leave anything to chance. Book an appointment with a Smiles by Natasha and find out if teeth whitening could be for you: 0408820543

References

[1] Australian Dental Association. Teeth Whitening: Surging popularity brings issues to resolve [Online] 2019 [Accessed January 2022] Available from: https://www.ada.org.au/News-Media/News-and-Release/Latest-News/Teeth-whitening-Surging-popularity-brings-issues-t