Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental service that can alter the appearance of your teeth. It’s non-invasive, quick, and easy to maintain with the occasional touch-up at home or at your dentist’s office.
However, it can also be overdone, resulting in teeth that look artificially white and unnatural. It can also cause your teeth to become sensitive.
How can I tell when to stop?
To help our patients decide how white they should go, our Delta dentists recommend that they stick to the shade they initially settled on at the outset of treatment. Your dentist will have a shade chart at the office that can help guide your whitening treatment process.
If you’re at home and trying to decide if you’re finished whitening or not, a good rule of thumb is that your teeth should be no whiter than the whites of your eyes. This is a good shade to aim for, as it tends to create a natural appearance.
Another general rule of thumb is to use your skin tone and complexion. If your skin is on the lighter side then you can go with a whiter shade for your teeth, because your teeth will blend in a little more with the rest of your face without looking out of place or garish.
If you have a darker complexion then we would advise you to avoid the very white end of the spectrum. This is because when you have your teeth whitened the goal is for the end result to look natural – like they haven't been whitened. If you go so far that your teeth look unnaturally white, then you will draw too much of the wrong type of attention.
Side Effects of Teeth Whitening
While there are minimal side effects associated with the teeth whitening process, too much of anything can often have unpleasant results. The same is true for teeth whitening. Here are some side effects associated with the teeth whitening process that can be more prominent with over whitening.
- Teeth Sensitivity - Teeth sensitivity is one of the most commonly reported side effects of teeth whitening. This can occur if the patient has weakened enamel or if the whitening is not properly administered. In-office whitening is the best way to minimize the risk of sensitivity during and after treatment as the dental professional can apply the bleaching agent in the safest way possible. Dentists often recommend certain treatments before whitening to reduce the risk of sensitivity. For example, dentists may recommend a patient with dental cavities receive dental fillings before the whitening procedure.
- Gum Irritation - Gum irritation can occur if the gums are not properly isolated or if the take-home or store-bought kit is not properly applied. Most patients do not experience any issues with gum irritation, particularly when it is performed in the office and administered by a dental professional.