How Safe Is Teeth Whitening?

by | Oct 28, 2019

One of our most popular treatments at Hewett’s Dental is teeth whitening, and something we’re often asked is ‘is it safe?’

Many of us would love a brighter smile, but is it worth risking your health for? We’ve put together a few key points to answer that question!

Whiten safely – with your dentist!

The great news is that whitening is generally considered safe. The British Dental Association (BDA) says whitening is perfectly safe providing it is administered by a registered dental care professional (such as your dentist/hygienist). The BDA warns that anyone else ‘won’t have the right training or knowledge and could cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums’.  So frequently, we see whitening services popping up in beauty salons around the UK. Beauticians are not adequately qualified to take a medical history and conduct a dental health examination to ensure you are suitable for whitening and to conduct the procedure safely. For example, if the whitening tray doesn’t fit correctly, some of the whitening gel may leak and cause painful chemical burns. Under the Dentists Act 1984, it is illegal for anyone other than dental care professionals to carry out teeth whitening. If you want to whiten your teeth safely and effectively – visit your dentist!

What causes teeth to darken?

Toothbrush with black charcoal toothpaste used in teeth whitening

Teeth can darken for many reasons, from poor oral hygiene, smoking, medicines and diseases, advancing age, and stain-causing food and drinks. For most people, teeth naturally darken as we age. There are certain steps we can take to prevent this, from avoiding habits such as smoking, and drinking tea and coffee. Realistically, for the majority of the UK population, cutting out tea and coffee is a big ask! To combat this problem, there are many toothpastes that claim to whiten teeth. Charcoal-activated toothpaste is the most recent market trend. Whilst these products are effective at removing stains, their abrasiveness can quite often be damaging to the long-term health of the enamel. For those interested in safer, and more effective stain-removal, a trip to the hygienist for airflow stain removal will give you a beautiful result. Whilst stain-removal does brighten the appearance of the teeth, it does little to the actual shade. To lift the enamel to a whiter, brighter shade, the only effective treatment is teeth whitening.

Do keep in mind that providing your teeth are free of cavities and your gums are healthy, there is little medical harm in stained or darkened teeth. The decision to whiten rests with you and the confidence you hold when you smile. We can assure you that professional teeth whitening methods are safe, should you choose to use them.

Other considerations before you whiten

images of different shaded of teeth used when whitening teeth

Whilst tooth whitening is considered safe, it is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers. It is recommended to wait until after the nursing period to begin whitening your teeth.

Whitening can cause a temporary increase in dental sensitivity. The majority of professional whitening systems can cause a brief period of sensitivity when used. This varies between individuals, and is more common in patients who have previously suffered with sensitive teeth. The sensitivity is short-lived, and does stop once the whitening process is complete. It can usually be managed with the use of an anti-sensitive toothpaste, and/or over-the-counter pain relief. For the few patients with more extreme sensitivity, there are specific whitening systems designed to work with patients with dental sensitivity. Always speak to your dentist about the best whitening options for you!

If you are concerned that something in your medical or dental history would be affected by tooth whitening – speak to your dentist. No question is trivial, and all dental care professionals should answer your questions professionally and thoroughly.

Next steps

Once you’re ready to transform your confidence with tooth whitening, the first step is to book a whitening consultation with your dentist. At Hewett’s Dental, a tooth whitening consultation is just £26.00. We offer a state-of-art whitening system for just £299.00.

To book your consultation, call us on 01484 714714, or book online!