Everyone wants a bright, white smile but for most people pearly whites simply aren’t natural. From genetics dictating the coloring of your teeth to consuming staining foods like coffee, you may have noticed that your teeth aren’t as bright as they once were. But should you turn to teeth whitening and how often can you do it safely?
At-home whitening kits have exploded as a market over the last decade. You can easily find these kits in your grocery store. Advertisements for them appear on Instagram and from influencers on other platforms, showing off their blinding new smiles.
There are several different at-home whitening options including:
Gels and LED
A common kit to find is a gel and LED kit. These consist of a gel that is applied to the teeth. The user bites down on a tray equipped with LED light. Holding on to the tray for 10 minutes, these kits often promise results in about a week.
At-home whitening also comes in strips that are applied to the teeth like a strip of tape. Those who prefer a mess-free application may choose these over gel trays.
In recent years, charcoal-based teeth whitening products have gotten a lot of play and attention in the market as a “natural” way to whiten teeth. Many dentists caution against the use of charcoal products, however, due to their potentially abrasive nature.
Charcoal partially whitens by using its grittiness to remove stains. But these abrasions can also damage enamel, leading to other, worse dental problems.
Having your teeth whitened at the dentist’s office comes with a few more steps that prep the surface of the tooth and protect your gums. Though it costs more than at-home kits, you get a complete and safe application of whitening compounds.
These are the same compounds that you find in your at-home kits and they are also combined with a light to aid in bleaching in the office. Before finishing, your dentist will apply fluoride to prevent pain.
Sensitivity and Why It Occurs
With all of these ways to whiten your teeth on the market, it must be safe, right? Yes and no. Like many cosmetic procedures, it can absolutely be done safely. But there are side effects that must be considered.
Incorrect or too frequent teeth whitening can lead to sensitivity. This is due to the hydrogen peroxide found in most whitening compounds. Damage to the enamel makes small holes in the surface of the tooth, which exposes it further to temperatures and sensations that can be painful.
How Often Is Safe?
So what’s the safest frequency for whitening your teeth? Once a year. At-home kits make it seem as if teeth whitening is a simple step to add to your dental care routine. But the strength of substances used should not be applied too frequently. Professional whitening should grant results that last about a year, meaning you shouldn’t be tempted to touch up during that time.
If you have questions about the safety of teeth whitening, talk to Dr. Hersh about your whitening options. Protect your smile and look your best when you call (610) 865-4222 for an appointment today.