Everyday things such as coffee, wine, and even spaghetti sauce can take a once bright, white smile and transform it into something discolored. If you were once used to brilliant white teeth and find yourself staring into the mirror and wondering when your teeth went from dazzling to dull, you’re not alone. In fact, more than half of Americans are insecure about their teeth. The good news is that there are many different ways to whiten your smile. The most common way is over-the-counter whitening strips. However, your dentist in Walnut Creek wants you to know the benefits and risks that go along with the use of whitening strips.
Whitening Strips: 101
Whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic covered with an active whitening ingredient. Some of the active ingredients can include hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, or chlorine dioxide. When in doubt, look for a product that offers no more than 14% of hydrogen peroxide and steer clear of anything that has chlorine dioxide – it can irreversibly damage tooth enamel. Additionally, it’s crucial to follow package instructions accurately. Whitening strips that are used too often or left on too long can cause unwanted side effects, and there’s no benefit to doing so.
What To Know Before Buying Whitening Strips
There are so many different kinds of whitening strips available to you. You can buy them almost anywhere – from your local grocery store to online without ever consulting your dentist in Walnut Creek. However, we encourage you to first talk with your dentist before spending any money on whitening strips. After all, whitening strips are only effective at removing surface stains and not internal stains, and it’s hard to know the difference between the two without a professional opinion.
Risks of Whitening Strips
While whitening strips can be effective at removing surface stains, they don’t come without their risks. Some risks of using whitening strips can include:
- Gum Irritation – Whitening strips that contain hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth, but if too much of the whitening strips touch too much of the gums for too long it can cause damage. Whitening strips can result in gum swelling and bleeding if used incorrectly.
- Splotchy Whitening – While whitening strips often use ingredients to effectively stick them to teeth, patchy or splotchy whitening can occur. This can make discoloration even more obvious than it was before.
- Sensitivity – Perhaps the most common side effect of whitening strips is tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity can have symptoms such as fast zaps of pain through teeth and pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold.
Are Whitening Strips Right For You?
The absolute best way to make sure you’re investing your money into something that will give you the results you want is to first talk with your dentist in Walnut Creek. They can help determine the origin of your tooth staining and recommend the best way to whiten your smile that will give you the results you want.