Whether you choose home tooth-whitening kits or opt to have a dentist whiten your teeth, the process involves applying bleach to remove stains and whiten tooth enamel. Many tooth-whitening preparations use carbamide peroxide as the bleaching agent. The American Dental Association recommends to talk with your dentist before using any tooth-whitening product.
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Tooth sensitivity is the most common side effect associated with any tooth-whitening procedure, according to the New Jersey Dental School. Toothpastes made for sensitive teeth can help alleviate these symptoms. Sensitivity usually resolves within three to seven days after the tooth-whitening procedure.
The bleach used to whiten teeth can irritate gums. Dentists use custom-fitted trays to minimize gum exposure to bleaches, but at-home kits may allow the bleaching agent to spread to the gums. Consult your dentist if the gums remain irritated for more than a few days after treatment.
If you accidentally swallow any of the bleaching agent, it could irritate sensitive throat tissue. Avoid swallowing the bleaching agent by using as little of it as possible. Rinse your mouth thoroughly after the bleaching process. Throat lozenges or gargling with warm salt water can help relieve throat irritation.
Some people report uneven whitening when they bleach their teeth with carbamide peroxide. This may be due to uneven application of the bleaching agent. According to dentist Howard Strassler of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, any blotchiness usually resolves after the first week of whitening treatment. Also, tooth whiteners only bleach natural tooth enamel. If you have caps, crowns or other dental appliances, the bleach won't affect them, which could result in these areas standing out against your whitened teeth.