Tooth whitening strips have become a popular over-the-counter option for many people looking to achieve a brighter smile from the comfort of their own homes.
In spite of the hype, however, several questions arise— the most important of them being: Are they bad for your teeth?
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most frequently asked questions with respect to the safety and effectiveness of whitening strips in order to help you make an informed decision when choosing the best dental whitening method.
Do whitening strips damage your teeth?
Tooth whitening products contain a whitening ingredient, typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which penetrates the enamel in order to break down discolored molecules and remove surface stains.
The effectiveness of any whitening treatment, including strips, depends on various factors such as the concentration of the active ingredient, the duration of use, the natural color of your teeth, and the type of stains you’re trying to remove.
When used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, store-bought whitening strips are generally safe. However, they are not an ideal option for everyone.
It’s important to examine both the benefits and potential risks.
Pros of whitening strips:
- They’re convenient and easy to use at home.
- They’re generally less expensive than professional teeth whitening treatments.
- If used consistently, they can be effective in gradually removing surface stains. This may be great for those who don’t want the changes to be too drastic.
Cons of whitening strips:
- They may cause gum irritation, tooth sensitivity, and discomfort.
- They can lead to enamel damage or other dental issues if used too often or for a longer time than is recommended.
- They can result in uneven whitening because the strips don’t cover every tooth evenly.
- Strips are not effective for deep or intrinsic stains and they will not deliver dramatic results.
- They are not suitable for individuals with dental work like veneers or dental implants.
- At-home strips lack the supervision of a dental professional who can address any concerns or complications during the treatment period.
Do whitening strips make your teeth sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity and gum irritation are common concerns associated with all whitening products.
White strips specifically cause more side effects than professional treatments for a couple of reasons:
- First, the active ingredient is likely to come into contact with the gums because the strips are rectangularly shaped. Instead of just covering the teeth, they inevitably touch the gum lining as well.
- Secondly, the concentration of the whitening agent is so low that it requires multiple applications to see noticeable results. Each application wears away at your enamel, making your teeth more sensitive every time.
On the other hand, professional whitening treatments are not just safer but also more effective.
At Kootenai Dental Group in Coeur d’Alene, ID, our patients are provided with custom-made trays that fit perfectly over their teeth. This ensures that the whitening gel does not come into contact with the gums, thereby minimizing the risk of discomfort.
Being that the treatment is performed under the direct supervision of one of our cosmetic dentists, the active ingredient is regulated so that sensitivity does not occur either. The gel we use is more powerful in removing surface stains which means fewer applications and quicker results!
Are teeth whitening strips permanent?
No whitening solution is permanent. Your teeth will naturally accumulate new stains from the foods and beverages you consume.
Whitening strips can remove some surface stains but it will take multiple applications and consistent use to maintain the results.
Professional whitening methods provide faster and longer-lasting results.
In order to maintain a whiter smile, you will need to adjust your oral care routine and repeat the whitening process periodically.
Do dentists recommend whitening strips?
The American Dental Association (ADA) acknowledges the potential of teeth-whitening products, but they emphasize the importance of consulting your dentist before embarking on any whitening journey.
While over-the-counter products like strips can provide results for patients seeking to reduce extrinsic staining, the risks and side effects outweigh the benefits, especially for those who have dental work or underlying dentin sensitivity.
The best dentists in Coeur d’Alene, Dr. Delwyn Dick, DDS, Dr. Lamont Murdoch, DDS, and Dr. Miranda Anderson, DDS, agree that the safest way to whiten teeth is through professional treatments because the procedures are closely monitored.
The treatments we offer at Kootenai Dental Group are tailored to the patient’s specific needs and dental history, reducing the risk of adverse reactions or uneven whitening.
What is the best way to whiten teeth?
Every patient’s situation and oral health is different, so an ideal treatment will vary on a case-by-case basis. If you’re looking for optimal results with minimal risk, getting a professional’s opinion is key.
Before starting any whitening treatment, schedule your consultation with one of our dentists to discuss which procedure is suitable for you. During your visit, be sure to mention any dental problems, medical conditions, and other concerns.
Once you’ve chosen a treatment, consider the following suggestions:
- Follow instructions: Regardless of the treatment you choose, always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you experience an adverse reaction, stop using the product and call your dentist for guidance.
- Manage exposure time: Don’t keep the product on for longer than instructed, as it won’t lead to better results and might increase the risk of sensitivity or irritation.
- Avoid overuse: Whitening too often can lead to irreversible enamel damage. Click here to learn how much time you should wait in between whitening sessions.
- Address teeth sensitivity: If you experience sensitivity, use whitening products that are designed specifically for sensitive teeth. You may also need to use a desensitizing toothpaste or gel. Click here to learn how to whiten sensitive teeth. If the pain becomes severe, however, contact your dentist.
- Maintain oral hygiene: Regular brushing, flossing, and check-ups are the foundation of a bright smile and optimal dental health.
- Avoid certain substances: Certain foods, drinks, and habits like smoking cause teeth to become stained. In order to maintain a white smile, you should avoid foods and beverages with dark pigmentation, high acidity, dyes, tannins, and hash chemicals that erode the tooth enamel. In this article, we provide a list of what to eat and what to avoid after whitening.
If you’ve ever wished for a brighter smile, you’re not alone. In a world where first impressions matter, having white teeth can boost your confidence and help you make a lasting impression.
To achieve the best results and ensure your oral health is not compromised, it’s recommended to consult with your dentist before starting any teeth-whitening method.
While teeth whitening strips are advertised as a practical way to enhance your smile, they come with potential risks.
At Kootenai Dental Group in Coeur d’Alene, ID, we offer our patients take-home whitening kits with custom-fitted trays. This safe and convenient treatment can be done from the comfort of your own home. The trays we provide you with are designed to fit perfectly over the surface of your teeth. This will ensure the bleaching agent does not come into contact with your gums.
Our team of experts will be happy to help you determine which procedure is appropriate for you.
Call us at 208-762-8750 to schedule your consultation today!