Why you should always have teeth whitening through a cosmetic dentist
More and more people are turning to teeth whitening to makeover their smiles, but in our role as a cosmetic dentist in Bury, we’re often asked whether teeth whitening is safe.
Certainly, teeth whitening is a very safe procedure when performed by a qualified professional, such as a cosmetic dentist. Here at Harwood Dental Care, for example, all of our dentists and hygienists have extensive experience of providing tooth whitening. In the UK, teeth whitening treatments can only be performed by dental professionals registered with the General Dental Council.
The teeth whitening systems we offer – Enlighten and Zoom! Home Tooth Whitening – are leading professional brands that have been the subjects of a number of clinical studies, and have a proven safety record.
Where things can become murkier is if you decide to purchase a DIY teeth whitening kit, which, in some cases, is a world apart from a professional home whitening system provided and overseen by a cosmetic dentist. DIY teeth whitening kits can easily be brought over the Internet for as little as £10.
What people don’t realise is that many of these DIY whitening kits contain chlorine dioxide – the same acid as that used to disinfect swimming pools – and can potentially cause significant damage to teeth. Chlorine dioxide has been linked to issues such as making teeth more prone to re-staining, extreme sensitivity, and enamel damage. Studies suggest that reduced enamel lustre caused by chlorine dioxide is irreversible, which means that you may need more invasive restorations to correct the damage.
DIY kits containing hydrogen peroxide can present a problem too. If your gums come into contact with hydrogen peroxide for too long it can cause chemical burns, gum recession and even tooth damage. In the UK, there are strict regulations stating that DIY teeth whitening kits can only contain 0.1% hydrogen peroxide but, in these quantities, the whitening kits may be ineffective. DIY kits purchased from suppliers abroad may have much larger quantities of hydrogen peroxide, but then present a very real threat to your teeth.
You may be wondering whether to try a tooth whitening toothpaste instead. After all, surely this should be safer? Maybe not. Whitening toothpastes that contain abrasive ingredients, such as sand or even smooth glass particles, can cause damage to your tooth enamel with repeated use, which may cause them to look patchy and stained over time. Even teeth whitening sticks that claim to contain a non-peroxide formula can be highly acidic and damaging to your teeth.
Before you consider any teeth whitening treatment, we would urge you to consult with a cosmetic dentist who understands the ingredients and the pros and cons of each treatment. This can protect you from doing lasting damage to your teeth with the wrong DIY kit.
It’s important to point out that discolouration can be a sign of dental problems. By trusting your teeth whitening to an experienced cosmetic dentist, they can check whether you are orally fit and confirm that you’re not experiencing discolouration because of underlying oral health issues.
Once you are orally fit, a cosmetic dentist will understand which whitening products you can safely use, for how long and in what quantity. If you experience or are likely to experience sensitivity, a cosmetic dentist can also help you manage this.
Teeth whitening is safe, but only in suitably experienced hands. If you’re concerned about the price of a professional teeth whitening treatment, you may be able to spread the costs with 0% or low interest finance. Your cosmetic dentist may also be able to suggest alternative treatments – even a scale and polish with the hygienist can help to address surface stains.
If you’re looking for a cosmetic dentist in or around Bury, or you would like to find out more about professional, safe teeth whitening, call us at Harwood Dental Care on 01204 304568 to book a consultation.