Tooth whitening is one of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your smile. While you will always see the best results by visiting a cosmetic dentist for a professional whitening, many people turn to at-home whitening options. Here are five mistakes that you should avoid to get the most out of your home teeth whitening routine.
Using Whitening Toothpaste Too Often
Whitening toothpaste can be effective for removing dark stains on your teeth, but it is not meant to be used every day. Whitening toothpastes contain a high amount of abrasives, typically hydrated silica, that can scratch the enamel of your teeth if used too often. Bacteria can build up in these scratches and become difficult to remove with brushing. This can lead to tooth decay and painful infections as the bacteria eats through your enamel over time.
Whitening Veneers or Crowns
Many whitening products that you can buy are effective for normal teeth, but are not meant to be used on crowns and veneers. Crowns and veneers are covered in a surface glaze that allows them to remain white on their own. Abrasive whitening products can remove this surface glaze, actually causing them to look dingier than they would have without whitening.
Using Whitening Strips or Trays Too Long
There is nothing wrong with home teeth whitening when it is done correctly, but it is important to remember that you can have too much of a good thing. You should take the time limit in the instructions of whitening strips or trays seriously so that you don't accidentally damage your teeth or gums.
Using whitening products for too long can increase the sensitivity of your teeth by irritating the nerves inside them. Additionally, the gel in these whitening products can seep into the space between the roots of your teeth and gums, causing your gums to become red and irritated. To be safe, you should always follow the instructions when using whitening products and clean away any excess gel with gauze after you are done whitening.
Buying Products That Aren't FDA Approved
If you are on a tight budget, you may consider buying inexpensive whitening products that are not FDA approved. In addition to being ineffective, many of these products can cause damage to your teeth with high concentrations of chemicals. FDA approved products will have undergone extensive testing to verify both their safety and effectiveness before they ever reach the store.
Forgetting to See Your Dentist First
Even if you are not going to have your teeth professionally whitened, you should still visit your dentist before you start your home whitening routine. The dentist can verify that whitening would be healthy for your teeth, and can also provide a quick dental cleaning. Having your teeth cleaned before whitening will remove plaque that can reduce the effectiveness of whitening.
A cosmetic dentist can also provide a customized tooth guard that you can use to whiten at home. Generic tooth guards will always allow some of the whitening gel to spill out, increasing the chance that your gums will become inflamed or that you will accidentally swallow some of the gel. A customized dental tray that is molded to fit your teeth perfectly will eliminate these problems and provide better results when you whiten your teeth.
Teeth whitening at home can be very effective if you stick to a routine and avoid these common whitening mistakes. Before you start whitening at home, be sure to thoroughly research the whitening products you want to use, and carefully consider the benefits of professional teeth whitening by a trained cosmetic dentist.
For more information, contact a local dental clinic, like Bristol Dental Group.