Do It Yourself (DIY) is popular for many reasons, particularly, because it helps people save money. But the real question is this: At what cost? And the fact that it has permeated into cosmetic dentistry is a cause for concern; DIY teeth whitening being of chief concern. From bleaching toothpaste to over-the-counter powders and whitening kits, the increasing popularity is alarming. This post examines the dangers inherent in DIY teeth whitening and why you should avoid them at all cost.
Hazards of DIY Teeth Whitening
From one report to another, the conclusion is that DIY teeth whitening are a health hazard. Below you’ll find specific negatives they cause.
- Teeth Sensitivity
Most DIY kits are made with bleach. Too much bleach can lead to extreme tooth sensitivity, a problem that could degenerate into nerve damage requiring root-canal therapy. Also, people who already have periodontal conditions may also experience tissue shrinkage. A study of hundred people showed that about 50 percent of the participants had experienced teeth sensitivity from whitening kits. To make matters worse, four of the participants experienced serious pain in their gums and mouth.
Most DIY kits are cheap with sub-standard products. One of such products is the bleaching trays. For teeth whitening to work properly the bleaching tray must be custom-fitted. Since this is not available for DIY kits, bleach is unevenly distributed. It is therefore not uncommon to find one patch of teeth whiter than the other. This is called spotting.
- Gum Irritation
Another side effect of DIY teeth whitening is gum irritation. For people with unfilled cavities in their teeth, this is a major risk factor for them. Cavities present holes where bleaching chemicals can seep through and cause serious damage.
- Enamel Wash Off
Some DIY kits bought over the counter have the very high acidity that can damage the teeth’s enamel. Some are so bad that even though they remove the stains as advertised, they also wash off the enamel.
DIY Teeth-Whitening Don’t Last
Another terrible thing about DIY kits is that for the teeth to remain white, you have to continue using them. If not, the teeth return to its initial color, especially if you’re a really into coffee, wine, and smoking.
Safe Alternatives to DIY Teeth Whitening
Anyone who’s interested in getting their teeth color changed should always consult with a dentist first. They can help diagnose already existing conditions that would have otherwise been a major risk if bleaching is commenced without first treating them. There are different options available for teeth whitening, including:
- Laser treatment where light beams are cast on bleach in order to activate them and use them to whiten the teeth.
- Using custom-made bleaching trays that match the patient’s teeth — size and shape — to avoid uneven distribution of bleach and to avoid it spilling to other teeth that don’t need whitening. This option is useful for situations where the whitening is not for all the teeth.
- Veneers for overly discolored teeth. Porcelain veneers are thin layers of semi-translucent shells that are permanently placed over the teeth to cover blemishes.