Whenever you’re going to be placing potentially harsh chemicals in your mouth, there are some potential risks and side effects. However, you are much more likely to experience these with over-the-counter kits than you will with either a professional kit, or in a dentist’s office.
This is because dentists are much more trained in applying the whitening agent properly, and they also have the tools available to be able to do it. Still, here are some of the risks that you may experience with any type of teeth whitening.
Bleaching can sometimes cause teeth to become sensitive to touch, temperature, and pressure shortly afterwards. Although some may claim that this is most likely going to occur in a dentist’s office, because a higher concentration of bleaching agent is used, this is just not true. In fact, sensitivity is much more likely to happen with OTC kits because when people don’t get the desired shade, they overuse the product, which significantly breaks down the protective enamel on the teeth.
This is something else that is most likely to happen with OTC whitening kits. When the bleaching agent touches the gums, this can cause a great deal of irritation and in some cases, even inflammation. It can also cause a stinging or burning sensation. This is most likely to happen with OTC kits because it’s difficult for amateur users to be precise enough, and because OTC teeth trays don’t provide the limited room needed to ensure that the teeth can still be whitened without causing the gums any ill effects.
This is one that will happen with either OTC kits or in a dentist’s office. The term ‘Technicolor Teeth’ comes from the fact that teeth may be slightly different colors after the teeth whitening process. This happens because some dental fixtures such as crowns, bonding, and veneers won’t be affected by teeth whitening products and so will remain the same color both before and after the treatment. In order to get these the same color as your ‘new’ teeth, you’ll need to have these treatments taken out and redone.
If tooth sensitivity or gum irritation occur, it is best to start using the whitening product less frequently — say, every other day instead of every day — and reduce the amount of time spent whitening. Prescription fluoride is also used to treat sensitivity sometimes associated with tooth whitening. Irritation of the gums can occur from either the in-office, at-home or over-the-counter tooth whitening systems. Gum irritation is usually mild and reversible, but can be treated with over-the-counter products such as Orajel.