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Teeth Whitening: What Are the Side Effects?

By Stephen Rogers on August 09, 2014

A young woman lying down in a bright airy bedroom, smiling with bright white teethTooth whitening has built up a bright reputation as a quick, simple, and painless way to transform your appearance with a bright and beautiful smile. But all medical and dental procedures come with some degree of risk, and teeth whitening procedures are no different. At Greater Long Island Dental, our team knows that being aware of the potential teeth whitening side effects is an important step toward a positive and effective teeth whitening treatment experience.

What Are the Most Common Side Effects of Teeth Whitening?

There are several common side effects that can occur during teeth whitening treatments. These potential side effects include:

  • Tooth Sensitivity: When bleaching agents penetrate the enamel of your teeth, it can make your teeth more sensitive. This is usually mild and temporary, but patients who already have sensitive teeth can be at risk for pain and more permanent nerve issues. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity in your everyday life, be sure to discuss this with your cosmetic dentist prior to any teeth whitening treatments.
  • Gum Irritation: Just as bleaching agents can be irritating to teeth, they can also be irritating to the soft and delicate tissue of a patient’s gums. An experienced and skilled cosmetic dental team is normally able to effectively protect a patient’s gums from bleaching chemicals, but be sure to communicate with your dentist if you have gums that are prone to sensitivity or irritation.

Can Teeth Whitening Lead to More Serious Side Effects?

While the most common teeth whitening side effects are only temporary, there is also the rare potential for more serious side effects to occur:

  • Nerve Damage: In rare cases, the normally mild and temporary tooth or gum sensitivity associated with teeth whitening can be more noticeable or even painful; it also may last much longer, giving a patient a potentially permanent heightened sensitivity to hot, cold, sour, or sweet sensations. This often happens with patients who already had extremely sensitive teeth before undergoing whitening treatments.
  • Tooth Discoloration: It seems ironic and counterintuitive that tooth whitening can lead to tooth discoloration, but it is actually more common than you might expect. This can come as a result of constant overbleaching over an extended period of time, as when a patient becomes misguidedly addicted to tooth whitening. Overtaxed teeth can become overly stripped of enamel and turn gray, yellowed, dull, or translucent.

While these side effects are concerning, a good cosmetic dentist who knows how to communicate with patients and ask the right questions can avoid these more severe side effects in most cases.

Learn More about the Teeth Whitening Process Today

Teeth whitening can give you the confidence of a more beautiful smile almost overnight - and when you know what to expect and make sure to discuss any concerns with your cosmetic dentist, you can help to keep potential side effects to a minimum. At Greater Long Island Dental, we’re committed to helping you achieve the smile you deserve. Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about teeth whitening today.

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