These days you don’t have to look far to find numerous ads for teeth-whitening products and services that promise to deliver a whiter, brighter smile without the need to see a registered dental practitioner. DIY whitening systems and unregistered service providers, however, have the potential to cause serious damage to your teeth and gums, which can be costly to fix. In some cases you may even be left with permanent, irreversible damage to your oral health. In today’s blog post we aim to summarise the key dangers of DIY teeth whitening products and services.
For Your Teeth Whitening, Depend on a Registered Professional
Caution should be applied to businesses offering teeth whitening services without having the professional training or accreditation required to provide professional dental services. Often these service providers tout being ‘certified’, ‘trained’ or ‘qualified’ but, did you know that if an individual is not a registered dental practitioner with the Dental Board of Australia they are forbidden to touch your teeth or mouth, and are not able to provide dental diagnosis or even apply the whitening gel to your teeth? Often, these operators will get around these regulations by making you apply their bleaching agent to your teeth by yourself – which can also lead to major problems if it’s not done correctly. Registered dental practitioners are the only people able to examine your teeth and gums and ensure you are a suitable candidate for teeth whitening before you undertake any treatment.
Don’t Fall for the Hype
Unfortunately, much of the hype surrounding teeth whitening is directed to teens and young adults who are caught up in the fray through unrelenting social media exposure from social influencers and unscrupulous businesses. Let’s face it, hair stylists are hardly qualified to provide dental services any more than a dentist is certified to perform a blow-dry. This has lead to the over-application of in-home DIY products and the frequenting of unregistered businesses that are more than happy to promote unsafe and ineffective dental products, and who are not trained to identify and diagnose dental problems before applying potentially harmful products to your teeth and mouth.
Last year, the Australian Dental Association issued a warning to Australians about improperly performed teeth whitening by unqualified and unregistered businesses causing severe damage to individuals’ teeth and gums. This was in response to a surge in young people presenting with devastating ulceration and chemical burns of their mouth and gums from improper products and services. Alarmingly, children as young as eleven have been documented to have engaged with teeth whitening products and services – a practice that can cause permanent damage to their still-developing teeth. Consumer groups have also warned people to be aware of ineffective teeth whitening products which contain such low concentrations of bleaching agent that they don’t deliver any results.
The Dangers of DIY Teeth Whitening
When improperly administered, oral and facial injuries can result from the bleaching ingredients that have the potential to damage the sensitive tissues in the mouth. A professionally trained dentist performs oral hygiene practices that avoids these injuries and is able to determine if you are a suitable candidate for teeth whitening before you commence treatment. The dangers of DIY Teeth Whitening and improper administration include:
- Chemical burns (including severe gum burns)
- Tooth damage
- Facial and internal damage from leaking or swallowed bleach
- Damage to maturing teeth in children
Popular products such as charcoal toothpastes have even been demonstrated to erode your enamel which can lead to increased risk of cavities, weaken the structural integrity of your teeth, and (believe it or not!) turn your teeth yellow – completely defeating the purpose you used the product to begin with! That’s because as enamel is eroded away, it reveals the deeper dentine layer of your teeth which is naturally yellow in colour. Damage to your enamel is permanent and cannot be reversed without costly interventions by your dentist.
Are You a Suitable Candidate for Teeth Whitening?
If your teeth are stained or darker than you’d like, see your dentist. Your dentist can assess your teeth and explain what you can do to whiten them. It’s important to know that if you have large visible fillings, they can’t be whitening by bleaching products and will need to be replaced with lighter coloured materials. Likewise, if you’ve had crowns, bridges or implants done – whitening will not change the colour of those (usually ceramic) restorations. Your dentist will be able to provide you with appropriate and safe options to achieve the teeth whitening results you want.
If you’ve ever thought about whitening your teeth but are not sure if you are a suitable candidate, call The Grove Dental to book your consultation in today! We are proud to offer Zoom in-chair teeth whitening which can achieve up to 8-shades whiter teeth in a single 45-60 minute visit.