Is Teeth Whitening Safe? What You Need To Know.

Want to whiten your teeth, but not sure if it’s for you?

In this blog we cover:

  • What is in whitening products
  • How does whitening work
  • Why dental consultation is best

Teeth whitening is perfectly safe. All whitening products available in Australia must adhere to strict laws and regulations. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has been established to regulate the whitening industry, with respect to both dentists and over-the-counter treatments.

What is in whitening products?

The active ingredient in whitening treatments is either carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. If you use the teeth whitening treatment gel as directed, it will be perfectly safe. Over-the-counter products are easily available without any dental consultation because have very low concentrations of the peroxide in them.

Only dentists are allowed to use teeth whitening products that contain over 6% hydrogen peroxide or 18% carbamide peroxide. Dentists have acquired the education and training needed to review a patient’s oral health to determine if teeth whitening would be safe or not. They will first address any oral health concerns before starting treatment on you.

It’s important to understand that peroxide based formulations are the best option for whitening. Some products call themselves ‘’all natural’’ alternatives, which would often contain materials like sodium perborate or sodium chloride. Although these ingredients are natural, they actually soften and dissolve tooth enamel over time. The ADA has reported such treatments to the ACCC in an effort to ensure better consumer protection against misleading marketing.

How does whitening work?

The peroxide based whitening solution will penetrate the surface of your teeth and react with the coloured molecules that cause staining and yellow discoloration. They break down these molecules which reduce their concentration resulting in visibly whiter teeth.

Over-the-counter teeth whitening products have low levels of peroxide, therefore they can only penetrate to very shallow depths. Whereas the higher concentrated peroxide dentists are qualified to use can soak deeper into the tooth’s enamel so the whitening effect lasts for much longer.

Are there any side effects?

If you use the teeth whitening treatment as directed, it will have no long term side effects. Higher concentrations of peroxide could however cause short term side effects, which is why such treatment solutions can only be administered by a professional in order to minimize potential pain or discomfort. Some of these side effects include:

  • Irritation in your gums: the peroxide used can cause gum irritation by affecting the soft tissue of the gums. Any discomfort should only be short lived however.
  • Sensitivity in your teeth: when the peroxide penetrated the tooth it could irritate the nerve leading to tooth sensitivity. Tooth mousse and toothpastes can help, and these are often recommended to use in the lead up to treatment, as well as after to alleviate discomfort.

Whitening at the dentist is safe

Your dentist is the safest method to achieve whiter teeth. They are professionals in the trade who will ensure that the whitening agent they use is applied correctly and for the right duration. These factors will affect the results of the treatment, but they will also affect your safety. It is important to understand that improper use can cause extreme teeth sensitivity or worst-case could lead to the death of your tooth.

To find out more about the teeth whitening treatments check out our blog on the different teeth whitening options.

Interested in whitening your teeth? Book an appointment online or talk to one of our experienced dentists to find out what options are available to you today. Call us on (07) 3067 7990.