Things to Consider Before Getting Teeth Whitening Treatments

Things to Consider Before Getting Teeth Whitening Treatments

Everyone dreams of having a gorgeous and bright smile because of the confidence it brings. Teeth whitening is a cosmetic treatment that involves bleaching your teeth to make them brighter or whiter. There are several reasons why people would consider teeth whitening treatments. For instance, your teeth have been stained or turned yellowish. Today the many types of tooth whitening options that are widely available are grouped into two types: in-office professional teeth whitening treatments and over-the-counter (OTC) products such as whitening toothpaste, gels and strips. Read on to learn more.

Are Teeth Whitening Treatments Suitable For Everyone? What Do I Need To Know?

Most dentists agree that teeth whitening should be done no earlier than age 14-16.

Many of those under the age of 14 (pre-teens) do not have all of their permanent teeth yet. It is always best to undergo teeth whitening treatments when all your permanent or adult teeth are present, and when there are no longer any baby or milk teeth left.

Your teeth and gums must be in healthy condition.

If you have active cavities or are going through dental treatments, teeth whitening treatment is not recommended. This is because teeth whitening treatments can severely irritate teeth with cavities, leading to pain, discomfort and increased sensitivity. Teeth whitening treatments are also not effective on stains and discolourations caused by tooth decay, specifically.

It’s best to delay having your teeth whitened if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.1

There are currently no studies suggesting that teeth whitening has negative effects on pregnant women, or on their unborn children. However, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that “clinicians may consider recommending that teeth whitening be deferred during pregnancy”. Most dental professionals have decided to follow this recommendation, and it quickly became a standard protocol across the world.

Dental whitening treatments won’t lighten the colour of dental crowns, veneers, bridges or dentures.

Crowns cannot be whitened, and since it makes the top part of your tooth, it makes up most of your smile. It is best to whiten your teeth before placing the crown in. If it has already happened and you now have mismatched shades, you might want to consider replacing it with another crown that matches your newly-whitened teeth.

The 3 Different Types Of Teeth Whitening Treatments

Today there are many different varieties of tooth whitening options available in the dental clinic and over the counter. Here are some of the common ones you should know about.

1. In-Office Whitening Treatments

In-office whitening treatments can only be found in dental clinics and are performed by dental professionals. Before the procedure begins, the dentist will apply a layer of gingival barrier to protect your gum tissue from the irritation that can be caused by the chemicals used. Then, the whitening gel containing hydrogen peroxide will be placed on the surface of your teeth. A blue LED light will be used to accelerate the chemical reaction to remove the stains. The session takes roughly an hour.

Occasionally, laser teeth whitening is used instead, particularly for cases where the person’s teeth are resistant to blue LED light. Laser teeth whitening is more effective and faster, but more costly. However, both of these in-office whitening treatments give immediate results, which is why these are the two best ways to whiten your teeth.

2. Over-the-counter Whitening Strips

Teeth-whitening strips are teeth whitening products that are available over the counter. They are thin strips that contain teeth whitening chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, and usually come in twos: one strip for the top row of teeth and the other for the bottom. This solution is suitable if your teeth are only slightly stained and if you are pressed for time because you can do it at the convenience of your home. However, it will take at least three days` time for it to come into effect.

3. Over-the-counter Whitening Toothpastes

What makes whitening toothpastes different from normal toothpastes? Whitening toothpaste is formulated to remove stains and whiten teeth more effectively than normal toothpaste. Over the years, popular home whitening remedies such as charcoal, baking soda, lime mint and enzymes have been incorporated into ready-to-use whitening toothpaste.

Such kinds of toothpaste offer a synergistic teeth whitening effect that isn’t possible with home teeth-whitening remedies alone. Though its results may not be immediate, you will appreciate how it helps maintain whiter teeth over time.

The 3 Potential Side Effects of Teeth Whitening Treatments

While teeth whitening treatments are generally safe, you may experience some side effects. It differs from person to person, but these are the few common side effects that you should know.

1. Sudden or Increased Teeth Sensitivity.

Your teeth may become more sensitive after treatment. You may experience this in the first-week post-treatment, and it should diminish with time. If it disrupts your daily routine, dentists will usually recommend treating it with toothpaste for sensitive teeth or mouth rinse that contains potassium nitrate and sodium fluoride gel.

2. Irritated gums.

You may also experience gingival irritation (irritation of the gums). This may happen as your gums will come into contact with teeth whitening chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide. This particular side effect should go away within a day post-treatment, however may differ for different people of various oral health background.

3. Wearing of the tooth, following excessive and improper application.

This side effect is more common among those using over the counter and home remedy products such as baking soda, charcoal powder and lime slices. However, even in its most natural state, the grittiness of these products might end up eroding your teeth enamel. If you use it too often and with excessive force, it could thin your teeth enamel and cause sensitive teeth. It might even discolour your teeth further.

The 3 Pros Of Teeth Whitening

When asked, there will be a myriad of reasons as to why people ever consider teeth whitening treatments. But ultimately, it is because they want to show everyone the best version of themselves. After all, who doesn’t like to have a charming smile?

The most obvious benefit of teeth whitening is an improved, whiter and brighter smile. However, there are also other impactful changes that you will notice over time:

1. It has a natural anti-ageing effect.

After getting your yellow or stained teeth treated, you will possess a smile that’s brighter than before, and with newfound confidence comes newfound happiness. As you start smiling confidently (and with whiter teeth), everyone you know will want you around because you are always happy and youthful. White teeth also help emphasise the make-up you put on, because people tend to focus more on you than others! Some even say that it makes their skin glow!

2. It helps you make a better first impression all the time.

First impressions matter a lot in the adult world, and a great and confident smile always seals the deal. Imagine your first day of work, or a dinner date with the person of your dreams, and how a beautiful smile can be a game-changer. This also stands in virtual sessions and meet-ups with your colleagues, friends and family members!

If you have always felt more reserved due to how your teeth were previously, that will all change. You can now stop smiling with your lips shut, or cover your mouth with your hands when you are laughing. Instead, you can shine in confidence.

3. It increases your chance of getting employed.

A beautiful, white smile can do wonders in job interviews. On top of a higher chance of scoring the job offer, you can also confidently present yourself and your skill sets. Who knows, you might even land your dream job with an impactful first impression!

All in all, teeth whitening treatments are definitely worth considering if you have yellow or stained teeth. As to which type of treatment suits you best, you should always consult your dentist to find out. Remember, whitening effects are not permanent, but you always take precautions such as reducing the consumption of drinks that can stain your teeth, and maintaining it with whitening toothpaste that is available over the counter.


1. Kandan, P. M., Menaga, V., & Kumar, R. R. R. (2011). Oral health in pregnancy (guidelines to gynaecologists, general physicians & oral health care providers). JPMA-Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 61(10), 1009.