Cosmetic dentist James Stein believes that the best patient is an educated patient. That’s why he provides his patients with all of the information they need to make confident, informed decisions regarding their care. Even extremely safe cosmetic dentistry procedures such as professional teeth whitening do carry some degree of risk. During consultations with patients at Dr. Stein’s practice in Boston, teeth whitening risks are explained in detail, along with benefits and other important information about the procedure.
Risks of In-office and At-home Professional Teeth Whitening
The most common risk associated with professional teeth whitening is sensitivity. Some patients experience moderate to extreme tooth sensitivity for a day or two after their procedures, especially to hot or cold liquids. In some cases, the sensitivity is persistent; in others, it occurs in the form of spontaneous shooting pains, particularly in the front teeth.
Another common risk that you will not have to worry about as a patient of Dr. Stein’s is gum irritation. Gum irritation occurs when the hydrogen-peroxide-based whitening gel comes into contact with the delicate periodontal tissues. However, Dr. Stein is meticulous about isolating the teeth from the gums with a rubber dam that prevents such contact. When used as directed, patients are not generally at risk of gum irritation from the professional at-home whitening kits provided by Dr. Stein, either.
One risk that Dr. Stein is careful to help patients avoid is disappointment with their results. Certain stains respond better to teeth whitening than others. Yellowish stains tend to respond extremely well while greyish and purplish stains are less receptive. Results can vary from patient to patient; however, Dr. Stein is able to help patients establish reasonable expectations after an initial evaluation of their teeth. In most cases, even stubborn stains will become dramatically lighter after teeth whitening, although optimal results may require multiple sessions.
Professional Teeth Whitening Carries Less Risk than Over-the-Counter Whitening Systems
Although there are some risks associated with any form of teeth whitening, professional teeth whitening is safer by far than over-the-counter whitening systems. Even though most over-the-counter systems are reasonably safe when used according to instructions, the lack of professional supervision and oversight increases the chance of accidental misuse. Also, when patients elect to undergo professional teeth whitening, they will proceed knowing that their candidacy has been carefully evaluated and that they have been advised of possible risks. Obviously, there is no screening process associated with over-the-counter whitening.
Some people have permanently damaged their teeth, gums, or both due to misuse or overuse of store-bought whitening systems. If you do elect to go this route, please use extreme caution. Keep in mind, also, that many of these shelf-brand whitening systems provide negligible results, if any at all. Some may actually result in teeth losing some of their luster.
Learn More about Teeth Whitening Risks - and Benefits!
To learn more about the risks and benefits of professional teeth whitening, we encourage you to contact the cosmetic dentistry practice of Dr. James Stein today.
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