Whitening Strips: 101Whitening strips are thin pieces of plastic covered with an active whitening ingredient. Some of the active ingredients can include hydrogen peroxide, sodium hydroxide, or chlorine dioxide. When in doubt, look for a product that offers no more than 14% of hydrogen peroxide and steer clear of anything that has chlorine dioxide – it can irreversibly damage tooth enamel. Additionally, it’s crucial to follow package instructions accurately. Whitening strips that are used too often or left on too long can cause unwanted side effects, and there’s no benefit to doing so.
What To Know Before Buying Whitening StripsThere are so many different kinds of whitening strips available to you. You can buy them almost anywhere – from your local grocery store to online without ever consulting your dentist in Austin. However, we encourage you to first talk with your dentist before spending any money on whitening strips. After all, whitening strips are only effective at removing surface stains and not internal stains, and it’s hard to know the difference between the two without a professional opinion.
Risks of Whitening StripsWhile whitening strips can be effective at removing surface stains, they don’t come without their risks. Some risks of using whitening strips can include:
- Gum Irritation – Whitening strips that contain hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth, but if too much of the whitening strips touch too much of the gums for too long it can cause damage. Whitening strips can result in gum swelling and bleeding if used incorrectly.
- Splotchy Whitening – While whitening strips often use ingredients to effectively stick them to teeth, patchy or splotchy whitening can occur. This can make discoloration even more obvious than it was before.
- Sensitivity – Perhaps the most common side effect of whitening strips is tooth sensitivity. Sensitivity can have symptoms such as fast zaps of pain through teeth and pain when eating or drinking something hot or cold.