Is Professional Tooth Whitening Safe?

ptwFirst impressions last a lifetime, especially if they are negative it seems. We all know that first impressions are crucial. Your smile is one of the first things people notice and it creates an immediate subconscious effect on the people you meet. If you want to put your best foot forward when meeting someone new, going to an interview, starting a new job, or for any number of reasons, a professional whitening can be a quick and easy way to do the trick. But is professional tooth whitening safe?

Effects of Bleaching

The effects of professional bleaching have been diligently researched to determine whether or not bleaching is safe. Research indicates that low concentrations of peroxide from reputable sources are safe when used as directed.  Before getting your teeth professionally whitened, however, you should attend a dental examination to make sure your tooth discoloration is not caused by underlying factors such as decay, root canal issues, or abscessed teeth. Dental x-rays may be required to rule out these factors. If your dentition is discolored for any of these reasons, whitening will only mask the problem.

Whitening Solutions and Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of bleaching whether over-the-counter or in-office. Solutions that are too acidic can wear away tooth enamel especially if left on for long periods of time. Such solutions should be avoided. The most common solution for at-home mouth trays is 10 percent carbamide peroxide (carbamide peroxide plus urea). The most common solution for in-office bleaching is 35 percent hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is more acidic and should not remain on teeth for lengthy periods of time.  Treatment times for bleaching solutions are determined by the strength of the solution being used.

Optimally, bleaching should be done no sooner than two weeks after a professional dental cleaning. Gum tissue should be healthy as even low concentrations of bleaching agents can burn inflamed gum tissue.


At A Briter Smile Dental Group, our dentists strive to offer each patient individual care and access to the latest in modern dentistry at an affordable price. If you would like to schedule a consultation, contact us at our Los Angeles office at (323) 747-1823. We proudly serve communities in Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Glendale, Pasadena, Burbank, Hermon, and Washington Heights.