Tag Archives: dental stains

Will bleaching harm my teeth?

Many studies have shown that repeated bleaching, even every day for many months, causes no permanent damage to the teeth.

Dental bleaching or tooth whitening is an easily available cosmetic procedure. People whiten their teeth at all ages. Even though people under the age of 30 generally have whiter teeth than older people, they often still want their teeth whiter and brighter.

Aging darkens teeth because of the changes that occur in the mineral structure of the enamel. Of course dark-coloured foods and drink also contribute to the darkening of teeth from the outside in, over long periods of time. The kinds of staining that occur quickly can often be brushed away.

So what is dental bleach and what does it do? Most dental bleaches are carbamide peroxide, the same chemical people use to bleach their hair. This substance turns into hydrogen peroxide when exposed to the mouth. During hydrogen peroxide’s action on the teeth it turns into oxygen and water.

The hydrogen peroxide molecule is able to penetrate the tooth surface and get inside the tooth structure where it is able to bleach the whole tooth inside and out. Although this process can achieve long-term whitening, unfortunately it is also why some people experience tooth sensitivity. The nerves in the tooth can get irritated by hydrogen peroxide.

Tooth sensitivity doesn’t happen to everyone, and only lasts a short time. I advise my patients to stop bleaching for a few days if their teeth start to hurt, and then start bleaching again. It is a harmless side effect.

You shouldn’t brush your teeth or drink coffee or other coloured liquids for 20 minutes after bleaching. With every bleach application the surface enamel softens to a microscopic depth, making it more susceptible to stains from liquids consumed too early. After about 20 minutes the enamel surface returns to normal.

Quick one-hour dental office bleaching causes more sensitivity and has a higher rate of rebound. That is, the colour comes back more slowly with at-home treatments. Most people can make their teeth as white as they want in less than two weeks. using at home bleaching trays.

If you want whiter brighter teeth, first see your dentist and get your mouth checked to make sure you have no problems. Your dentist will make custom fit bleaching trays, give you the right strength bleach, and in less than two weeks you will have whiter teeth.