After your kid makes a few wisecracks about your dingy smile, you might be ready to head to the store to pick up a giant tube of whitening gel or a few packages of those pre-made strips. However, whitening your teeth isn't something you should do in a hurry or on a whim. Doing things the wrong way can cause big-time problems that might stick with you for awhile. Here are three teeth whitening mistakes you will regret later, and how you can avoid trouble:
1: Buying DIY Whitening Gels
The toothpaste aisle at your local grocery store is jam-packed full of whitening products which promise to lift away deep-set stains and leave you with a polished, pristine smile. Unfortunately, there isn't a dentist sitting in the aisle to check your teeth and tell you which product would work best for you. To make matters even worse, some whitening product manufacturers offer whitening gels with ultra-powerful concentrations, which could damage your teeth and gums.
For example, while whitening products approved by the American Dental Association and used by most dentists contain about 10% carbamide to whiten teeth, some over-the-counter products contain over 15%. However, each person has different dental needs, and using the wrong gel concentration could cost you.
For example, if you have capped teeth mixed in with your smile or bonded dental structures, using an improper concentration of gel could cause your teeth to whiten unevenly. Another issue you might have to deal with if you use the wrong gel is painful chemical burns. Your gums and the surrounding soft tissue in your mouth can become damaged and ulcerated if powerful gel oozes out and sits in the wrong place for too long.
To avoid an unsightly appearance and painful burns, talk with your dentist about your whitening options. Your dental professional can evaluate your teeth and recommend safe, reliable products. Dentists can also create custom bleaching trays, so that gel stays where it should be. When you have the right product and know how to apply it safely, you can whiten without worrying.
2: Bleaching Too Often
After bleaching your teeth successfully a few times, you might notice whiter, brighter teeth. In an effort to speed things along, you might decide to add in a few extra bleaching sessions. Unfortunately, bleaching your teeth too often could make your teeth look gray.
Most people don't realize it, but dental enamel is mildly translucent. If you whiten once in awhile, that bleach will brighten set-in stains and make your teeth look glowy and beautiful. Unfortunately, overdoing it could cause that enamel to turn completely clear, which might leave people staring at the lower layers of your teeth which aren't as pretty. Instead of being white, your teeth might look grayish-blue.
To avoid problems, never bleach your teeth more often than your dentist recommends. Avoid wearing your bleaching trays when it might be easy for you to lose track of time. For example, don't wear your trays to bed, work, or to the gym. If you aren't getting the whitening results that you are after, talk with your dentist.
3: Using Your Regular Toothpaste
When you bleach your teeth, the whitening gel molecules penetrate deep into your teeth to whiten underlying stains. Unfortunately, this process also speeds blood flow to the area, which can create painfully sensitive teeth. If you use your normal toothpaste, you might be left wincing in pain every time you eat or drink anything hot or cold.
However, you can fend off this problem by switching to a sensitivity toothpaste during your whitening process. These special formulations contain potassium nitrate, which helps to calm your dental nerves. Talk with your dentist about which toothpaste you should be using. He or she might be able to evaluate your bleaching concentration and recommend a toothpaste that can combat your symptoms.
Being careful about teeth whitening might help you to enjoy a bright, beautiful smile—without any collateral damage. Talk to your dentist, like one at Family Dental Care, about what would be your best treatment plan.