Will I Damage my teeth by whitening them

It is not secret that most of us desire a healthy, bright, white smile. Unfortunately teeth not only come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, but also different colors. Some tend to have more of a yellowish hue and others grey. Some look nice and white and others a little darker. No matter what color your teeth, there is a very good chance whitening your teeth can help lighten and brighten your pearly whites (or maybe not so pearly if you are considering whitening).

There are many different options to help achieve a brighter smile – from toothpaste to in office whitening treatments. The craze with whitening today seems to be over-the-counter strips – a fast and easy option.

Before beginning a whitening system, it is important to consult with your dental provider to see if you are a good candidate for whitening. For patients that have had more extensive dental work towards the front of their mouth, whitening may not be the best option as restorations do not change color. Many times restorations are placed in the mouth and the color is matched to the surrounding teeth at the time. Whitening the teeth next a filling or crown may cause the restoration to look dark and may not be ideal. Whitening systems should also be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) or done in office with the instructions and help from a dental provider.

One of the major drawbacks to whitening is that it can cause sensitivity – mostly to cold. This is a temporary sensitivity as the pores in your teeth have “opened up” to allow the ingredients in the gel to work its way into the tooth to yield results. Once the pores return to “normal”, the sensitivity goes away. There are also different concentrations of peroxide in all whitening products. Products with a higher concentration can cause more tooth sensitivity than others or even cause gum sensitivity. It is important to find a product that contains 10-20% peroxide.


No matter which product you choose to use—whether it is over-the-counter, in office take-home trays, or an in office treatment—it is very important to read the directions and ask questions if any arise.

Whitening your teeth can be a very safe and simple procedure as long you are using a product that best suits you and your mouth.

For further discussion, talk to your dentist at your next appointment with Life Smiles family dentistry in Plymouth, MN.

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