In a word: yes, teeth whitening is safe. However, for best results, it should be done by a professional — namely, your trusted dentist in Elmwood. If you decide to do it on your own, you should only use products that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Teeth whitening falls under the category of cosmetic dentistry, a branch of dentistry designed to give you more confidence in your smile.

While custom-fitted trays and in-office treatments remain the most effective and safest methods of whitening teeth, there are other convenient and affordable options such as ADA-approved over-the-counter toothpastes, strips, and gels. The teeth whitening market is a huge one, and it’s not looking like it will slow down anytime soon. In fact, the teeth whitening market is expected to soar past 10.6 billion by 2030, thanks to a surge in popularity of at-home teeth whitening kits and products, advancements in LED and laser teeth whitening technologies, and an increase in demand for teeth whitening treatments among young adults.

Today let’s explore the safety of teeth whitening, particularly when performed under the supervision of a dentist.

The Safety of Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is considered safe if done by a dental professional or through the use of at-home products approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on all OTC whitening products, which will tell you it’s safe and effective.

As with any cosmetic procedure, teeth whitening can come with potential side effects. While OTC treatments are certainly convenient and relatively affordable, there is a caveat with them. While teeth-whitening products break down complex stains to make your teeth appear brighter and whiter, their overuse or misuse can lead to gum irritation, sensitivity, and other side effects.

Top Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

There are many ways you can choose to whiten your teeth, from at-home treatments to in-office dental treatments. There are pros and cons to all options. Let’s take a look.

1. OTC Whitening Toothpastes & Gels

These represent simple ways to brighten your smile. Whitening toothpastes typically contain abrasives, such as baking soda and silica, that will remove surface stains. However, using these toothpastes alone won’t make your teeth that many shades whiter, and the abrasiveness of the ingredients has been known to cause tooth sensitivity. Whitening gels contain hydrogen peroxide, which also breaks down stains, but they can be messy and tough to keep in place.

2. Whitening Strips

A convenient and affordable option, whitening strips have a coating of a whitening gel that contains peroxide. The physical strip ensures the gel stays on the teeth for a certain amount of time. However, the strips are not customized to your teeth and therefore may be ill fitting, which can irritate your gums. Plus, using them too much can lead to increased sensitivity.

3. Custom-Fitted Whitening Trays

A custom-fit at-home whitening tray, recommended by your dentist, can be created from a mold of your teeth. You fill the trays with whitening gel and wear them for a recommended amount of time daily, repeating the process until you achieve the desired shade of white. Results can be seen in a matter of weeks.

Because it’s your dentist recommending this at-home treatment, the trays will contain a higher-strength whitening agent compared to what you would get over the counter.

4. In-Office Blue Whitening Treatment

In-office whitening treatments typically utilize a blue LED light, performed under the supervision of a dentist. This method is the safest and most effective way to whiten your teeth. During your whitening session, the dentist will put a gel on your teeth that has a high concentration of peroxide. Then, he or she will activate the gel with a blue LED light, directed on your teeth, for up to 20 minutes.

Another layer of gel will be added and more light directed to your teeth for an additional 20 minutes. This process can be repeated until you have reached your desired level of whiteness.

Who is Not a Good Candidate For Teeth Whitening?

Some people should not whiten their teeth, primarily pregnant and breastfeeding women. That’s because there’s not a lot of data out there on the safety of teeth whitening for this demographic, which means they are more likely to experience inflamed gums and sensitivity after teeth whitening due to hormonal changes that come with pregnancy.

Additionally, children under the age of 16 should not use teeth whiteners unless they are under the supervision of their dentist, to ensure safe and effective whitening.

Other people who should refrain from the use of teeth-whitening products include those with:

  • Sensitive teeth or gums
  • Cavities or other dental problems
  • Gum disease

This group may have increased sensitivity or experience adverse effects when using a teeth-whitening product. In these cases, it’s best to consult with a dentist for further guidance.

Book Your Teeth Whitening Appointment With Ashby Dental in Elmwood

To book an appointment for teeth whitening, give us a call at (510) 549-0133. We are located at 2507 Ashby Ave. in Berkeley, CA, open Mon – Thu 8am to 4pm and Fridays 8am to 1pm. We would be happy to go over the teeth whitening procedure that is the best option for you.