If you're not happy with your smile, teeth whitening might be a great way to brighten it and make you feel more confident when grinning. If you have considered whitening your teeth, you might have heard some myths and misconceptions that have caused you to hesitate. The good news is that for most people teeth whitening is safe and free from side effects. Here are a few common myths about the process that you can safely cross off of your list of concerns.
Teeth Whitening Causes Sensitivity
During the early days of teeth whitening, the bleaching agents used did sometimes cause increased sensitivity to heat and cold. The formulas have improved in the past decade or so, however, and this is usually not an issue any longer. A few patients might experience mild sensitivity, but it is not severe and it will go away once the whitening process is complete.
The reason for the slight sensitivity is that the whitening solution opens the pores on your teeth. If you were to take a swig of ice water directly after using your bleaching trays, you could feel a twinge. One easy to way to avoid this is to not eat or drink anything very hot or very cold for a few hours after bleaching.
Teeth Whitening Causes Gum Irritation
Again, the older bleaching agents sometimes caused gum irritation. This is not commonly a problem anymore for two reasons. First, the agents are milder and less likely to cause inflammation. Secondly, bleaching trays are fabricated to fit your teeth perfectly; there should not be much overflow of the solution onto your gums. If you are using an over-the-counter bleaching tray, gum irritation might be more likely than if you had gotten a tray made by your dentist.
Teeth Whitening Means You Have to Give Up Coffee and Red Wine
As previously mentioned, teeth whitening solutions cause the pores of your teeth to open up temporarily. For this reason, it's a good idea to avoid coffee, blueberry pie, and red wine for a couple hours after using your bleaching trays. When the pores of your teeth are open, you should not introduce anything that could get into the pores and discolor them, because this defeats the purpose of bleaching. In general, though, you do not need to give up these items. After you enjoy dark-colored foods or beverages, simply rinse out your mouth or brush, if possible, to avoid additional staining.
If you have questions about teeth whitening, speak to your dentist. He or she will be able to recommend the best type of whitening for your particular circumstances.