As we age so do our teeth, often resulting in teeth that become a more yellow or brown color. Although discouraging, discoloration of the teeth is normal and happens to us all.
Intrinsic discoloration occurs over time and reflects the natural aging process of teeth. Extrinsic color stains are due to other factors, such as smoking, coffee or medications, and can result in discoloration earlier. For both, many people turn to teeth whitening strips to reverse these effects.
Using whitening strips are generally safe for you and your teeth. However, there are several things to consider before using whitening strips.
Professional Teeth Cleaning and Checkup
Before starting any in-home whitening treatment, be sure to visit us for a mouth exam and cleaning. It’s safer for you to use whitening strips after you’ve had a checkup to determine that your mouth and gums are healthy and avoid worsening any dental problems that may exist.
While the most effective, long-term whitening solution for your teeth is professional teeth whitening at the dentist office, let’s talk through your options! If an over-the-counter whitening strip product is chosen, we can help you understand the risks and effectiveness of this approach.
Be Picky with Products
At-home whitening strips use a thin layer of peroxide (usually carbamide peroxide) coated onto flexible plastic. While you may see products with higher levels, choose white strips that have about 10% peroxide or carbamide peroxide as the active bleaching ingredient. Start with a lower level to avoid irritation and avoid buying whitening strips online.
Sensitive Side Effects
For many people, using whitening strips can cause teeth sensitivity or irritated gums. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly and don’t leave whitening strips on longer than directed!
- There really is too much of a good thing when it comes to teeth whitening.
- Using teeth whitening strips too often or for too long can make the teeth porous and cause the surface enamel to break down.
- The bleaching agent in whitening strips can cause stress of the tooth surface and surrounding gum tissue.
While tooth sensitivity should pass, if you feel any changes in your teeth or notice red or swollen gums, stop using the product to allow your teeth and gums to recover.
When to Skip Teeth Whitening
While at-home whitening strips with lower amounts of bleaching agents are believed to be safe, it’s best to avoid teeth whitening when pregnant or nursing. If you have dental crowns, bondings or veneers, whitening strips may change the other teeth in your mouth leaving you with uneven whitening results. It’s best not to use whitening strips on children and, instead, plan a visit to the dentist to see what other options exist.
If you’re looking for a whiter, brighter smile, contact us! We are professionals in teeth whitening and have a solution that will make your smile beautiful in no time at all.