Teeth Whitening—Too Much of a Good Thing?

Teeth whitening is one our most popular cosmetic procedures—and for good reason! One quick appointment will leave you feeling more confident in your smile, and with a little extra pep in your step.  

 

The best part about in-office whitening is that the color lasts for at least a year. This means you can save hours of at-home time with over the counter kits by relaxing in our chair. You won’t have to think about it again for years! Don’t you wish all your appointments could be like that?  

 Too much tooth whitening?

All that said, it is important to remind patients that there is sometimes too much of a good thing. It can actually be harmful to your teeth to whiten them too much—this means that you aren’t following practice guidelines and are deviating from standard protocol that’s there for a reason.  

 

We want all our patients to be confident in their smile, but with that comes certain responsibility. Below we outline why there are safety guidelines in place, and what their benefits are. But first, we want to remind you why we encourage our patients to consider teeth whitening within that safe frequency!  

 

Benefits to teeth whitening 

 

Studies have shown that bright, white teeth have a direct correlation to both success in professional endeavors as well as interpersonal relationships. In addition, whiter teeth can help increase your self-confidence and give you a healthier overall appearance.  

 

Research has shown that smiling can literally add years to your life and lead to better emotional health. In addition to the endorphins released, smiling also releases serotonins that make you feel better about yourself. Smiling is beneficial for your emotion and physical health, and can lead to a healthier life. Not to mention its charming effect on the people around you! 

 

How much is too much? 

 

Unfortunately, if you increase the frequency of whitening treatments, it is not guaranteed you will have brighter teeth without repercussions. Excessive teeth whitening is most likely to result from abusing over-the-counter whiteners as opposed to in-office services—because, of course, when you work with us we’ve got your back. We tell you when the next treatment can be.  

 

We recommend using at-home kits for a maximum of two weeks at a time. While some treatments may boast a 30-day regime, those are more likely to cause harm. And after completing a two-week at-home treatment, it’s important to give your teeth at least six month to rest. If you complete a whitening treatment at our office, we recommend waiting at least a year before thinking about another one—and, yes, our treatments work at least twice as long as box treatments. 

 

Treatments done in the office are stronger than what can be done at home, so that’s why waiting a year is the safest standard. 

 

What’s the result of over whitening? 

 

Excessive use of over-the-counter products can be damaging to your teeth. The most common complaint is that teeth begin to show a translucent appearance due to applying too much of the peroxide-based whitening product. When this happens, teeth actually appear discolored—even gray—and the tips or corners become almost transparent. Unfortunately, many people think applying additional whiting on top will bring the vibrance back. But this only compounds the underlying damage.  

 

In addition to discoloration, too much tooth whitening can lead to too enamel loss. Your enamel protects your teeth from bacteria, and if it erodes that leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavities and other oral health problems.  

 

Finally, overuse can also result in incredibly sensitive teeth. Many patients report feeling an intense, strong pain when eating or drinking, and in extreme cases, changes in the room temperature can cause pain.  

 

It is important to remember that these side-effects only occur if you abuse a teeth whitening product. When pursuing a whitening plan under the counsel of your dentist, it’s highly unlikely you will suffer these symptoms. 

 

Teeth whitening can be an incredibly positive experience that boosts your self-confidence. If you choose to use an at-home product, it’s important to follow all the instructions and heed the warnings we’ve outlined above. If you would like to discuss our in-office services, give us a call today!  


Also published on Medium.

About Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S.

Dr. Mark Marchbanks has practiced dentistry in Arlington Texas since 1983. He enjoys caring for patients young and old. You can find Dr. Marchbanks on
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If it's been more than 6 months since your last teeth cleaning, give us a call today to schedule your check-up.