One of the most popular dental cosmetic procedures is tooth whitening. After years of eating, drinking, or smoking, a person’s smile will inevitably be darkened to some degree. The ability to smile brightly is a very important thing to most people, but steps to clean up their smile must be taken carefully. There are a few different ways that tooth whitening is accomplished, but yet there still remains the question of, how safe is it?

Tooth whitening involves using chemicals to make the teeth appear whiter. By using some of these bleaching products, patients are actually changing, or removing, the color that has intrinsically made itself a part of the enamel. This highly effective method also changes the enamel’s natural color. However, it may cause some people alarm because of the use of peroxide-containing bleaching agents. This makes the teeth appear whiter, but can be accomplished in another way.

There are whitening products that are non-bleaching. Without the bleaching chemicals, these other whitening chemicals are only able to remove surface stains on the enamel. Whitening products can be administered at the dentist office and over the counter, but they will be a less intrusive form of cleaning. The more questionable whitening processes will use peroxide-containing bleaching agents. There are common side effects, which result in tooth sensitivity, or irritated gums.

The dentist applied, and home-use whitening products have received the American Dental Association Seal of Approval. There are also various whitening toothpastes that can be bought over the counter that work to safely remove stains as well. Only the ones that have received the ADA seal of approval should be used. They will not contain peroxide-containing bleaching agents, so there are no potential side effects.

Ultimately, patients should always consult with their dentist before engaging in any new teeth whitening procedure. This is especially important if you already have a mouth filled with dental work. An examination from the dentist will tell you if bleaching agents are a safe course of action.