Why pay for something you can do yourself? This philosophy might work when it comes to oil changes and mowing the lawn, but when it comes to whitening your smile, you might just do more damage than good. Below, we discuss the risks associated with DIY teeth whitening treatments.
Search the internet and you’ll find any number of home remedies for a whiter smile. Whether it’s lemon juice, baking soda, or charcoal, many of these whitening treatments involve either physical abrasion or acid to remove stains.
A little bit of abrasion can remove surface stains on your teeth, which is why we use a gritty polish when you come in for a dental cleaning. Baking soda toothpaste, too, can be useful in treating light stains. The problem comes from using these remedies too often or with too much pressure. This can result in enamel wear; when enamel is worn off, it can cause painful tooth sensitivity and yellowing that is resistant to whitening treatments because the dentin layer is exposed.
Soft Tissue Damage
There are a number of over-the-counter teeth whitening options that carry the American Dental Association seal, which means they have been proven to be both safe and effective. You might think that by purchasing one of these products, you’re sure to see results without any side effects, making it a safe, risk-free solution.
Unfortunately, these treatments are best suited for mild stains and discoloration. We see patients who end up with irritated gums because, in order to achieve the more dramatic results they desire, they use over-the-counter whitening products for longer amounts of time than directed, causing damage to the soft tissue. If you have moderate to severe stains, professional whitening treatments are needed.
Another consequence of using over-the-counter products for too long or too frequently is painful tooth sensitivity. We especially see this with whitening kits people order online. These kits are often made in other countries, with questionable ingredients, and sold at a markup to consumers in the US. With the lack of transparency concerning the ingredients, formulations, and strength in these cheap imported teeth whitening treatments, it’s best to avoid such products.
Time and Money Wasted
Although certainly not as serious as the other side effects we’ve discussed, there’s also the risk of losing valuable time and money with DIY whitening treatments. There are many products out there that simply don’t work—whitening lights, pens, and charcoal toothpastes marketed by Instagram influencers as miracle products are usually all hype, with no results. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Whitening for Life from Chagrin Falls Dental
At Chagrin Falls Dental, we offer a unique Whitening for Life program that allows you unlimited teeth whitening using a professional-grade whitening system for superior results and safety—and, best of all, it’s more affordable than buying over-the-counter teeth whitening kits year after year. To learn more about how to join our Whitening for Life program, contact us today at 440-247-8641.