Will tooth whitening harm my teeth?

August 2, 2021
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Posted By: Waterways Dental

You want a whiter, brighter smile, but you are unsure if tooth whitening will harm your teeth. It’s a great question that you should definitely be asking your provider prior to proceeding with treatment.

In short, the answer is no. Tooth whitening will not harm your teeth, so long as your teeth and gums are healthy before starting your whitening journey. But let’s look at what tooth whitening is, how it works, what precautions should you take, and the differences in tooth whitening offered here in Australia.

First and foremost, tooth whitening is the process of whitening or lightening your teeth without removing any of the natural tooth structure. How this works is the whitening product enters your teeth through tiny pores removing any stains you may have internally or on the tooth's surface. Because tooth whitening works by entering through the pores of your teeth, unfortunately, this will not work to lighten crowns, veneers or filling materials. 

If your teeth and gums are healthy, this process is relatively easy, although you may experience some sensitivity that will settle after a day or two. If you have the start of a hole or dental decay by using a tooth whitening product, you can irritate the tooth, if not cause further damage. To combat any sensitivity you may have, we provide you with a topical product to apply directly onto the teeth, and we also recommend using sensitive toothpaste whilst whitening. 

Here in Australia, you can buy tooth whitening products over the counter. These include tooth whitening gels, strips and whitening toothpaste. Due to regulations in Australia set out by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, these products are low in the active ingredient required to lighten teeth for your safety and will generally only target surface staining. This generally means you either won’t achieve the whiteness you are after, or it will take a longer time.

At a dental practice, because the whitening product is being provided by a dentist (think GPs and medical prescriptions), we can offer whitening products that are stronger and more effective. We have two options; chair-side tooth whitening and take-home tooth whitening. We will always need you to have had a recent checkup before proceeding with whitening treatment, and we will recommend that you have had a dental clean to help get you the best results. 

When picking which whitening treatment is better suited to you, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Are you on a time crunch and need to have it done as soon as possible? You have your cousins’ wedding coming up shortly, and you want to look fabulous? Then chair-side whitening would be the best option for you as the results are instant! 
If you just want whiter teeth and don’t have an event or function upcoming, you may want to choose the take-home whitening treatment.

Both options will yield similar results; one is instant, and the other is over a period of time (generally two weeks). The other reason you might choose one over the other would be if you have tooth sensitivity already. 

Please keep in mind that everyone’s teeth will whiten at a different rate, and your outcome may be different to someone else.

If you are interested in tooth whitening and would like further information or to discuss whether you would be a suitable candidate for tooth whitening, give us a call on 07 5572 6522 and one of our friendly staff will book a suitable time for a consult with one of our clinicians. Alternatively, scroll to the top of this page and use our “book now” button to book an appointment today.