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Teeth Whitening: What Are the Risks?

Teeth Whitening: What Are the Risks?

There are only minimal risks associated with teeth whitening, but there are still some important factors our Surrey dentists ask patients to consider when they are considering this cosmetic dental procedure.

“Teeth whitening” and “teeth bleaching” are not exactly the same thing.

Teeth whitening just means making your teeth whiter. This is a broad term that includes a variety of methods, from cleaning agents and over the counter whitening products, to actual teeth bleaching. In short, it's anything you can do to make your teeth appear whiter.

Teeth bleaching, then, is a type of teeth whitening that involves lightening the actual colour of the teeth, using hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

Because teeth whitening encompasses teeth bleaching, these terms are often confused.

Both over the counter teeth whitening and professional bleaching are considered safe when used as directed. However, there are some minor risk associated with bleaching in particular that  you should know about.


Bleaching can sometimes cause temporary sensitivity to temperature in the teeth. Some people experience what they describe as spontaneous “shooting” pains down the centres of their front teeth.

The tooth sensitivity caused by teeth whitening typ fades away after a few days at most.

Gum Irritation

Most people who use peroxide-based whitening systems experience some mild gum irritation as a result of the bleach concentration or contact with the trays.

Like sensitivity, gum irritation lasts for several days after the bleaching process is complete, and fades away on its own.

Problems with Restorations

Teeth bleaching products do not work on dental restorations. If you have dental crowns, fillings, or veneers and try to whiten your teeth, the restoration will stay the same colour.

For this reason, it may be better to undergo a course of teeth whitening before having other dental restoration procedures completed.

Contact us today to book a teeth whitening consultation with one of our Surrey dentists.

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