Is Tooth Whitening Safe

Is Tooth Whitening in Safe?

Although everyone loves a white smile, many people who undergo tooth whitening procedures wonder if it is damaging their teeth- they worry it is weakening or degrading the structure of the tooth.

 How Does Tooth Whitening Work?

A professional tooth whitening in Scottsdale treatment uses a hydrogen peroxide agent that bleaches the enamel of the teeth. Most at-home tooth whitening kits use similar compounds but at lower concentrations. At-home chemicals are applied to the teeth for longer periods than the stronger solutions used in a one-hour professional whitening session.

Side Effects

Known side effects of tooth whitening include temporary tooth sensitivity. If the bleaching agent was allowed to get onto the soft tissues of the mouth (much more common with at-home kits) then these tissues may become irritated. Both the tooth sensitivity and tissue irritation go away after a few days.


The American Dental Association (ADA) says that having a professional tooth whitening or using an ADA-approved home kit is considered to be safe. The ADA does admit that the safety of repeated unsupervised use of home kits is unknown. The ADA urges individuals who want whiter teeth to consult their dentist about the pros and cons of doing so, and to discuss the best approach. Patients with crowns, bridges and implants should definitely discuss the safety of exposing these materials to whitening agents with their dentist before proceeding.


In 2006, the Cochrane Collaboration conducted an independent review of tooth whitening. At that time, no study followed up patients for more than a month after the procedure. The only short-time side effects reported were tooth sensitivity and gum irritation.

In 2011, a review of the evidence reported that tooth whitening did not erode or damage tooth enamel. This review included a number of laboratory studies of teeth. They found that tooth enamel could be eroded by tooth bleaching agents but only under extreme conditions invented in the laboratory that have little relevance to actual tooth whitening. Studies performed of actual living teeth being whitened suggested that there is a slight softening of the tooth enamel for about a week after a whitening procedure. During this week, it might be best to avoid using a very abrasive type of toothpaste.


So there is no need to worry- if done as directed, tooth whitening is safe both in the short-term and in the long-term. There will be some temporary changes in the sensitivity and structure of the tooth, but this will pass harmlessly after a few days. The idea that tooth-whitening is weakening or eroding away the tooth is unfounded.

It is, however, best to consult Dr. Steven Poulos or Dr. Sid Stevens before proceeding with tooth whitening in Scottsdale. Dental work may not respond to whitening agents in the same way that natural teeth do. And some types of tooth discoloration simply do not respond to tooth whitening. At My Scottsdale Dentist we can examine your teeth and provide professional yet friendly advice on the best way to improve your smile.

If you’re unhappy with the way your teeth look, contact us today for an appointment.