Consumers in Woburn, MA want to know if teeth bleaching can damage gums
In our increasingly social media-driven culture, a bright smile has never been more important in business and social situations. Fortunately, it is easier than ever to boost smile appeal with professional teeth bleaching. It has become one of the most popular cosmetic treatments at Four Corners Dental Care in Woburn, MA. Yet, Dr. George Moutevelis and his team are often asked, “Can teeth bleaching damage gums?”
How whitening works
Tooth enamel feels pearly smooth. However, under magnification, you would see that it is covered with tiny tubules. These microscopic channels allow sensations, such as temperature and bite pressure, to reach nerves at the core of the tooth. This responsiveness is nature’s way of protecting teeth from damaging conditions.
Pigments are particles that give color to coffee, tea, cola, red wine, berries, and other substances. Particle size is small enough to become trapped in tubules in tooth enamel. Natural crevices and pits, and scratches from abrasive toothpaste or aggressive brushing also trap pigments from food and tobacco. In addition, as we age, enamel thins. A yellowish layer of dentin begins to show through. The combination is a dingy smile that can add years to your face.
Teeth are bleached with a peroxide solution – either hydrogen or carbamide. Peroxide has an extra oxygen molecule. That makes it unstable – it is constantly trying to release that molecule so that it may become inert water. An enzyme called catalase, present in all sorts of plant and animal cells, speeds that process of oxidation.
Teeth bleaching uses that property to beautiful advantage. A peroxide whitening agent is placed on tooth enamel, where it permeates tubules. As it oxidizes, it breaks down the cellular structure of pigments. The fizzing or bubbling action that results, lifts and releases stains.
Risks of soft tissue damage
In controlled conditions, under the supervision of a trained dental team, teeth whitening is very safe. However, peroxide is a potent chemical. Because gum tissue contains catalase, the structure of its cells can also be disrupted by peroxide.
Dr. Moutevelis and his team at Four Corners Dental Care to help solve dental related issues.
Professional whitening contains a much higher, prescription strength peroxide than over the counter treatments. You might think that would increase the risk of gum irritation, but the opposite tends to be true. Because lower-strength drugstore products are not as effective, people tend to overuse them – applying too frequently or leaving the formula on too long. That can result in a chemical burn, similar to a sunburn. Injured gum tissue turns white and peels off within a day or so. In addition, retail trays and strips have a generic fit that does not do a good job of keeping the product where it belongs – on teeth, rather than soft tissues.
How safe is professional whitening?
At Four Corners Dental Care, teeth bleaching is very safe. Here are some of the reasons:
- All teeth whitening products and devices used by dentists are subject to FDA approval.
- We make sure you are free of gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental issues before whitening takes place.
- We offer options in whitening – fast in-office bleaching, and a milder, at-home alternative.
- For the in-office procedure, we use retractors to gently move lips and cheeks out of the way. A protective coating is applied to gums (and exposed root areas), so that peroxide only encounters tooth enamel. The whitening agent is a thick gel, so application is easily controlled by the hygienist. After about an hour, every trace of gel is gently removed, revealing your gorgeous bright smile.
- While you don’t have continuous professional oversight with the at-home technique, you do receive complete instructions, including how much gel to use and what to do if you get it on your gums. Plus, our team is just a phone call away if you have questions. The doctor takes impressions of your mouth to create custom whitening trays. They fit snugly and comfortably, holding the treatment gel in place. Wear the trays for an hour a day, until you achieve the brilliance you desire. If you experience sensitivity, a special buffering agent can be added to the gel, or the doctor may adjust your treatment schedule.
Your smile in good hands with teeth bleaching from the team at Four Corners Dental Care in Woburn, MA. Call (781) 315-4456.