Be Safe About Teeth Whitening

  • July 19, 2016

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you use a teeth whitening product?

You may be thinking that it won’t be that effective, and you will feel like you’ve wasted your money.

Or maybe you know the teeth whitening products can increase tooth sensitivity.

In either case, you would be mistaken. The worst-case scenario happened to a teenager in Scotland who went to someone other than a dentist for whitening treatments.

We will tell you a little more about that situation in a moment. For now, we want you to know that it is possible to remove stains that have taken years to develop with professional teeth whitening under the supervision of the staff at Forever Young Dentistry.

If you are interested in changing the color of your yellow or discolored teeth, please start by making an appointment at our dentist office in Sterling Heights, MI.

When Whitening Goes Really Wrong

We want to be clear: what happened to 18-year-old Abbie Kilbride is not typical. However, her story is instructive about the possible risks involved when using teeth whitening products.

Ms. Kilbride’s story has been reported a couple places, including by the Cosmopolitan magazine website. Before you follow the link, you should be aware that there are photos that some people may consider too graphic.

Here’s the abbreviated version of what happened. Kilbride went to the women — not a dentist — who does teeth whitening at her house.

Her treatment lasted about 60 minutes. We don’t know what the treatment did for Ms. Kilbride’s teeth, but we do know that her lips were swollen. The swelling got worse the next morning and she developed at least 10 blisters inside her mouth as a result of her whitening treatment.

When she finally when to a hospital, they determined that she had received third-degree burns combined with a possible allergic reaction.

Ms. Kilbride was quoted by Cosmopolitan as saying that she wouldn’t wish that experience on her worst enemy.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Situations like what happened to Ms. Kilbride are why the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs issued a statement about teeth whitening products.

If you have been down the toothpaste aisle in nearly any grocery or retail store, then you are aware that there are dozens of “whitening” products out there.

The council noted that the term whitening has been used for marketing purposes to refer to two different things.

The first kind of whitening products only remove surface stains. This may explain why so many kinds of whitening toothpaste are on the shelves.

The second kind of whitening product is more likely to be the one you are thinking about. These are the ones that use bleaching agents (typically carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide) to remove deep stains from teeth.

Commercial whitening products that are eligible for the ADA Seal of Acceptance contain no more than 10 percent carbamide peroxide, which is comparable to 3.5 percent hydrogen peroxide.

Professional whitening products can between 25 and 40 percent hydrogen peroxide. This is why they are available at dentist offices instead of retail stores. You probably won’t be surprised to know that the council recommends talking to a dentist before using any teeth whitening product.

The council statement notes that teeth irritation, teeth sensitivity, and in rare instances irreversible tooth damage can occur if whitening products are used too frequently or incorrectly.

Improve Your Smile — Safely

If you are interested in teeth whitening, we want to help. We want you to remove the stains so you can have a pearly white smile once again.

But it’s just important that your teeth whitening is done safely and correctly.

We recommend take-home whitening treatment using custom-made trays that are designed to fit your teeth. We have found that this kind of treatment is generally more comfortable for our patients.

If you come to our office, we can create trays just for you. We can provide you with the whitening gel, and we can answer any questions you may have.

We want to help you get the white smile that you desire, but it’s equally important that you do it safely.

Talk To Us Before Whitening Your Teeth

It’s important to know your options whether you are considering commercial or professional teeth whitening. The staff at Forever Young Dentistry will gladly answer your questions so you can proceed safely.

If you have any questions about teeth whitening, contact us with our online form or call 586-698-7135 to reach our dentist office in Sterling Heights, MI.