Visit any pharmacy, and you'll probably find a long line of tooth whitening products that all promise to give you a sparkling white smile. They may also promise to be safe for your teeth and gums and gentle enough for you to use regularly.
If you need to whiten your teeth, rather than relying on these products alone, it can be good to visit a cosmetic dentist instead. There are many reasons to skip those products you see at the pharmacy and to leave tooth whitening in the hands of a dentist. Note a few of those reasons here so you can ensure you make the best decision about your teeth and protect your overall oral health as well.
Too strong or too weak products
Tooth whitening products you get over the counter may either be too strong or too weak for your teeth. Those that contain a high concentration of bleach, peroxide and other common whitening ingredients may damage the enamel of your teeth and injure or dry out your gums. That enamel damage can be very serious for your oral health, as enamel protects the teeth from breaking and chipping and from cavities. When the gums are irritated or get dry, they can become prone to infection.
Products that are too weak or that don't contain enough of any whitening ingredients may not damage the teeth, but they're also ineffective. You may see a small change in the colour of your teeth, but this change is often so slight that the product is simply a waste of money. Your dentist, however, will only use safe products for your teeth. For those whose teeth are too discoloured to bleach, he or she can actually paint over them. This will give you the colour you want while also protecting your overall oral health.
Examination of the teeth
Another reason to visit a dentist for teeth whitening is that he or she can examine the teeth. Your teeth may be yellowed due to decay, loss of enamel as mentioned above or other problems that should be addressed by your dentist. If your teeth are yellow because you're eating lots of acidic foods, this can mean cavities as well as discolouration. Rather than just restoring the white colour to your teeth, it's good to note if you should have the teeth strengthened with an enamel coating, if you have cavities that need filling or if you might need to change your diet to protect your teeth.