Emergency Service Call Now

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Whitening Your Teeth at Home

Smiling Couple With White Teeth

Tooth whitening is one of the most important things you can do to improve your smile. While a professional dental cleaning will always provide the best results, several at-home options for tooth whitening can be effective if they are used correctly. Here are five mistakes to avoid if you whiten your teeth at home.

1. Overusing Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpastes are effective because they contain micro-abrasive particles that scrub stains off the surface of dental enamel. These particles can also leave scratches in the enamel if you use whitening toothpaste too often, so you should stick to standard fluoride toothpaste for daily use. Scratches in your enamel can be hiding spots for bacteria that promote tooth decay and infections.

2. Using Whitening Products on Dental Work

Just because a whitening product can be safely used on natural teeth, doesn’t mean you should use it on dental work. Dentures are softer than natural teeth and so are more susceptible to scratches from abrasive whitening products. Dental crowns and veneers are coated with a glaze that helps them stay white on their own, and whitening products can remove this glaze and dull their appearance.

3. Leaving Whitening Strips in Too Long

Whitening strips are an effective alternative to whitening toothpaste, but they should always be used according to the instructions on the package. Leaving whitening strips in too long can cause irritation of the nerves in your teeth and gums, which can lead to increased sensitivity. Uneven and unnatural-looking white blotches on your teeth is another risk of using whitening strips too long.

Wearing whitening strips for too long can cause the whitening gel in them to begin to seep into the space between the roots of your teeth and gums as the strips become saturated with saliva. Whitening gel in these sensitive areas can cause swelling and inflammation. Always take your whitening strips out at the recommended time, and use gauze to clean away any excess gel that’s left around your teeth.

4. Buying Products That Aren’t FDA Approved

When you are shopping for tooth whitening products, you should only purchase products that have an FDA seal of approval on their package. These products have undergone extensive testing to ensure that they are both safe for oral use and can provide the results they promise if used correctly.

You may be tempted to buy inexpensive products that are not FDA approved because the price is appealing and they look virtually the same as the more expensive options. However, these products are much less likely to provide any real whitening benefit and can potentially contain chemicals that could be harmful to your teeth and gums with extended use.

5. Forgetting to Consult Your Dentist

As with anything that can affect your oral health, you should talk to your dentist before you begin a tooth whitening routine. Your regular cleaning visit is a good time to have this conversation, as the professional cleaning will remove plaque and tartar clinging to your enamel and allow home whitening methods to be more effective.

Your dentist should thoroughly inspect your teeth for cavities when you inform them that you are considering home whitening. Whitening gel can seep into cavities and cause significant pain and sensitivity. Your dentist will help you avoid this discomfort by warning you about cavities and filling them if necessary.

Virtually everyone can benefit from home teeth whitening if it is done correctly. Keep these tips in mind when you are getting started with teeth whitening to make the process as comfortable as possible, and contact Dr. Jerry F. Maymi & Associates for full dental service and professional whitening.