Have you been lured by the glittering promises of ‘instant white teeth’ online. Perhaps you are considering buying a home whitening kit or having a ‘doorstep’ procedure. Or are you thinking of popping into that salon which has a special offer on teeth whitening? Well stop, and think about the potential risks. Dental professionals are urging the public to be aware of the dangers of illegal teeth whitening.
It’s easy to allow yourself to be seduced by adverts on the Internet and social media, offering cheap deals and instant results, but these apparent ‘wonder treatments’ are more often than not performed by unqualified individuals. In other words, you should be running for the hills when you encounter these offers online. The ‘so-called’ experts will deal with your teeth in the same way as Edward Scissorhands would deal with your hair!
So, without further ado, here are the things you thought you knew about teeth whitening, and why you were wrong!
1. The longer I leave on the bleach, the whiter my teeth will get.
You should only leave bleach on your teeth for the instructed amount of time. If you go beyond this time, your teeth may become sensitive, which could mean that you experience intense pain and discomfort for months to come. That’s going to have a negative impact your everyday life.
Don’t assume that just because the instructions tell you to leave the bleach on for a short time, that it won’t work. A shorter leave-in time means that the chemicals are of a higher concentration.
2. It doesn’t matter how often I bleach my teeth.
The frequent application of chemicals in high concentrations can lead to permanent damage to the enamel and gum tissues. Cue more excruciating pain. Especially when you bite into that well-earned slice of cake, or sip on your favourite cocktail, or, well actually, even breathe in. Yes, your teeth may become sensitive to air! You see, bleach can seriously dehydrate your teeth, making them weak and about as resistant to bacteria as a sponge is to water. Over-whitening can completely strip your teeth, making them transparent. When whitening goes wrong, you may end up needing root canal surgery or tooth extraction.
3. I need to use whitening gel which has over 6% hydrogen peroxide, in order to ensure I get white teeth.
It is illegal in the UK for dental practitioners to use over 6% hydrogen peroxide. A concentration higher than 6% can cause open sores and excruciating pain. Home whitening kits should contain gel with less than 0.01% hydrogen peroxide.
4. If I bleach my teeth, they will no longer become stained by food and drink.
This is not the case. While the initial procedure will lighten your teeth, they will become particularly porous 24-28 hours after bleaching. Therefore, they will be prone to darkening. Furthermore, teeth whitening does not create a protective barrier which prevents staining. So you should avoid smoking, red wine and coffee after the whitening process.
5. If I put a little extra in the bleach tray, my teeth will be even whiter.
Overfilling bleach trays does not mean whiter teeth. Rather, it is extremely harmful and can cause burning when your gums come into contact with the gel.
So, if you are considering teeth whitening, do your research first. Always get a registered dental professional to perform the treatment. In many ways your teeth are your biggest asset, so it would be a shame to lose them or damage them by undergoing a sub-standard procedure.
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