Teeth Whitening (cont.)
In this Article
- Teeth whitening introduction
- Teeth whitening options
- Whitening toothpastes
- Whitening strips and whitening gels
- Tray-based tooth whitening procedures:
- At-home vs at-the-dentist dental bleaching
- Risks associated with teeth whitening
- Teeth whitening products safety
- Frequently asked questions about teeth whitening
- Find a local Doctor in your town
The two side effects that occur most often are a temporary increase in tooth sensitivity and mild irritation of the soft tissues of the mouth, particularly the gums. Tooth sensitivity often occurs during early stages of the bleaching treatment. Tissue irritation most commonly results from an ill-fitting mouthpiece tray rather than the tooth-bleaching agent. Both of these conditions usually are temporary and disappear within 1 to 3 days of stopping or completing treatment.
If you do experience sensitivity, you can reduce or eliminate it by:
- Wearing the tray for a shorter period of time (for example, two 30-minute sessions versus two 60-minute sessions)
- Stop whitening your teeth for two to three days to allow your teeth to adjust to the whitening process
- Ask your dentist or pharmacist for a high fluoride-containing product, which can help remineralize your teeth. Apply the fluoride product to the tray and wear for 4 minutes prior to and following the whitening agent.
- Brush your teeth with a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. These toothpastes contain potassium nitrate, which helps soothe your teeth's nerve endings.
Some bleaching products dispensed through dentists' offices as well as professionally applied (in-office) bleaching products have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance, which indicates that the product has met ADA guidelines for safety and effectiveness. Currently, only dentist-dispensed home-use products containing 10% carbamide peroxide and office-applied products containing 35% hydrogen peroxide have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance. No over-the-counter products have received the Seal of Acceptance. Over-the-counter bleaching products are not endorsed by the ADA because the organization believes that professional consultation is important to ensuring safe and effective use. No whitening products using lasers currently are on the ADA's list of accepted products. Several whitening toothpastes that are available over-the-counter have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance. For a list of specific toothpastes that have gained the ADA's Seal of Acceptance, visit: www.ada.org/prof/prac/seal/index.html
It should be noted that not all manufacturers seek the ADA's Seal of Acceptance. This is a voluntary program that requires considerable expense and time on the part of a manufacturer. Just because a product does not have the ADA Seal of Acceptance does not necessarily mean that the product is not safe and effective. You can be assured, however, that products that do carry the seal have meet the ADA's standards for safety and effectiveness when used as directed.
Teeth whiteners are not drugs and therefore are not regulated by the FDA.
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