Understanding the Side Effects of Teeth Whitening

By Burton Gooch on August 14, 2020


A man undergoing teeth whitening treatmentWhen patients are dissatisfied with yellowed or discolored teeth, teeth whitening can help. Teeth whitening is a fast and effective treatment for revitalizing the smile by revealing brighter, whiter teeth.  

Teeth whitening is a safe procedure but there are a few potential minor side effects people should be aware of before undergoing teeth whitening treatment. At Gooch Family Dental, Dr. Burton Gooch explains possible teeth whitening side effects to his Birmingham, AL patients. For answers to your questions about teeth whitening, we welcome you to schedule a consultation. 

The Minor Side Effects of Teeth Whitening 

Teeth whitening is a safe, simple, and effective treatment for removing stains and transforming the smile. As a result, there are not many side effects associated with this treatment. Not only that, but the possible side effects are relatively mild and usually resolve within a few days of treatment.

Increased Tooth Sensitivity

After teeth whitening, some patients may notice an increase in tooth sensitivity. Increased tooth sensitivity is generally mild and usually resolves within one to three days. For those who experience increased tooth sensitivity, it is typically only noticeable when eating hot or cold foods. 

Increased tooth sensitivity may occur as a result of the temporary demineralization of the enamel on the surface of the teeth caused by the peroxide in whitening treatments. 

When minerals from the enamel are stripped away, microscopic channels called microtubules, that lead to the inner structures including nerves of the teeth, are exposed. 

Once whitening treatment stops and the teeth become re-mineralized, the microtubules will reseal. As the microtubules close, teeth whitening related tooth sensitivity typically resolves.  

Gum and Soft Tissue Irritation 

Some people may find their gums and other soft tissues within the mouth, like the inside of the lips or cheeks, feel irritated after teeth whitening. Irritated gums and soft tissue may look inflamed or develop some redness. In other cases, the gums may appear white where they came into contact with the whitening solution. 

Gum and soft tissue irritation is more likely to occur when using at-home teeth whitening treatments, especially when not used in accordance with the directions. For example, leaving the teeth whitening solution on the teeth longer than advised or repeating treatments too frequently and too close together can increase the risk of gum and soft tissue irritation. 

Although not everyone who undergoes teeth whitening at our Birmingham practice will experience gum or soft tissue irritation, those who do experience it generally recover within a few days. 

Overusing Teeth Whitening Treatments

When used correctly, teeth whitening can provide incredible results. This can tempt some people to whiten their teeth more than recommended. 

Overusing teeth whitening treatments can permanently change the color of the teeth to a gray or translucent appearance. 

Learn More about Teeth Whitening 

With so few and such minor side effects, teeth whitening is a safe procedure for revitalizing the teeth and enhancing the smile. To learn more about teeth whitening, or to find out if it's right for you, call our Birmingham practice at (205) 545-8001 to schedule a consultation

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