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11 March 2019

Teeth Whitening in Stockport – Uncovering The Risks and Dangers Of DIY Teeth Whitening

If you’re like many other Brits who enjoy the odd glass of red wine or black coffee, your teeth are unlikely to resemble a ‘Hollywood smile’. While quick fix teeth whitening in Stockport may sound tempting, the drawback is that it can be detrimental to your oral health.

Back in 2011 an EU directive was issued stating that teeth whitening products containing 0.01% hydrogen peroxide or less, could now be sold on the open market. This led to a flood of over-the-counter products becoming available.

Now, you can go into any large supermarket chain or pharmacy retailer and choose from a wide variety of teeth whitening products. These range from whitening strips and pens to bleaching kits and toothpaste at the cheaper end, through to over the counter UV kits with some costing close to a hundred pounds. Even so, that’s still a considerable saving as opposed to visiting a Cheadle dental practice for professional teeth whitening treatment.

That said, there are very good reasons why you should visit a cosmetic dentist in Manchester to put the sparkle back into your smile as opposed to DIY teeth whitening.

Firstly, and according to many practicing dental professionals, any product with a 0.01% hydrogen peroxide level or less, is unlikely to have any real effect on tooth colour.

While you might think that this is purely ‘sour grapes’ from the dental industry looking to monopolise the business of teeth whitening, there are other more pressing concerns associated with DIY teeth whitening kits that buyers might not initially consider.

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the over-the-counter-products available and the problems/risks associated with them.

Whitening strips

Did you know that there are over 2 million teeth whitening strips sold in the UK each year? so for manufacturers, they’re big business. Buyers can choose from a wide range of products ranging from peroxide, carbamide and non-peroxide based strips, including coconut and charcoal varieties. While some people say that they see results, others who have used them excessively, have cited painful sensitivity to teeth and gum irritation. In addition, others cite problems which are more aesthetic in nature, namely, when strips are worn on uneven or crooked teeth, they often produce an uneven zebra-like look. Clearly that’s not going to be good for your confidence.

Top tip – If you are going to invest in whitening strips then it may pay to seek advice from your dentist first. In addition, to avoid sensitivity, avoid buying whitening strips online – Countries like the US are legally allowed to sell whitening strips up to 10% (that’s 100 times stronger than those allowed in the UK). Remember though the lower the peroxide levels, the lesser the chance of sensitivity, but also take into account the lesser chance of seeing effective teeth whitening results.

Teeth whitening pens

These are one of the newer teeth whitening products and are best used in a scenario where you have one or two teeth which are slightly more stained than others. Manufacturers say that you simply dab the gel compound contained within the pen over the affected tooth/teeth and results can be seen quickly.

Because the whitening pen can be carried in a handbag or placed in a pocket, it’s convenient, making it a very popular choice.

Again most pens in the UK either contain very low levels of peroxide or carbamide or are non-peroxide based, meaning that you probably won’t see a great deal of improvement. If you do buy stronger pens online, be aware that they can cause tooth sensitivity and mild gum irritation in some cases.

Bicarb toothpastes

Bicarbonate of soda has long been a natural remedy for whitening teeth so by combining it with toothpaste, you’d think that you were on to a winner.

While bicarbonate toothpaste can whiten mildly-stained teeth in the short-term, it’s worth noting that it’s not very effective with regards to the removal of moderate to bad teeth staining or ingrained staining.

Apart from aesthetics however, there is something else you should bear in mind when using bicarb toothpaste and it’s this…

When used excessively or for long periods of time, the toothpaste can weaken the tooth enamel because of its highly abrasive qualities. This in turn may make your teeth more sensitive and therefore, more vulnerable to dental cavities.

Top tip – if you do want to use a fluoride-free toothpaste, then you may want to talk to your local Cheadle dental practice first. They may suggest that you limit the use and if you do feel any slight tingling or a burning sensation, then stop immediately.

Teeth whitening kits

These shouldn’t be confused with the bespoke teeth whitening kits that are part and parcel of cosmetic dentistry. Manchester dentists can legally supply these with hydrogen peroxide levels up to 6%. Instead, we’re talking about the mass manufactured whitening kits that you can pick up in the supermarket or at the chemist. Sure, they both contain plastic trays which are filled with gel and are worn over your teeth in the comfort of your own home, but this is where the similarities end.

The problem with over-the-counter teeth whitening kits is that because the trays are mass-produced, there’s a good chance that they won’t fit your teeth exactly. As a consequence, you may get some of the gel on your gums or even ingest it which can cause irritation and upset. In addition, because the trays might not be an exact fit, it means that any distribution of the whitening agent may be uneven, causing a spotting effect.

Finally, because it’s illegal to sell over-the-counter whitening kits with peroxide levels above 0.01%, it’s highly likely to reduce the effectiveness of the product.

On the contrary, kits supplied by your local dentist will contain bespoke trays that match the exact shape and size of your teeth. This greatly lessens the chance of ingesting the gel, getting it on your gums, or having a less uneven or ‘spotted’ finish.

In addition, because all professional teeth whitening treatments are closely monitored by your dentist, they can use stronger (and therefore more effective) bleaching agents. So, as a top tip, if you’re considering teeth whitening in Stockport in the form of a teeth bleaching kit, then you’re better off paying a little more and buying it from your dentist.

So there you have it, the risks and problems associated with DIY teeth whitening!

If you’d like to find out more about cosmetic dentistry in Manchester with particular focus on professional chairside and take home teeth whitening, then come and talk to the team at Church Road dental and cosmetics. Dr Karim and the team have been successfully and safely carrying out teeth whitening for many years, so why not visit our Cheadle dental practice and see how we can help you to quickly put the sparkle back into your smile.

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