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whitening

Is teeth whitening safe for my gums?

Teeth whitening can be an easy and effective way to improve your smile. With all the whitening options such as toothpaste, rinses, strips, gels, and in-office whitening, you may wonder which option is the best. And if you also have gum disease, you might wonder if whitening safe for you and your gums.  

Teeth whitening is safe for patients with healthy teeth and gums. If you have gum disease now or treated for it in the past, you need to consider some factors before deciding if whitening is a good option for you.  

IF YOU ARE IN ACTIVE PERIODONTAL TREATMENT

Most dentists recommend delaying whitening your teeth while you are in active periodontal treatment. Bleaching agents that whiten your teeth can often temporarily irritate the gums. In a healthy patient, that irritation is minor.  However, for patients who have active gum disease, the whitening agents can cause more severe gum reactions such as increased redness, swelling, and even pain. In severe cases, it can cause the gums to slough away because the tissues are already so delicate.

IF YOU ARE A PERIODONTAL MAINTENANCE PATIENT

If you have completed periodontal treatment, you are probably in a soft tissue management schedule that involved more frequent cleanings called periodontal maintenance. In many cases, patients who have stabilized their gum disease can safely undergo teeth whitening. However, most dentists recommend that periodontal maintenance patients whiten professionally because their gums can be safely monitored during the process.

IF YOU HAVE GUM RECESSION

If you have had gum grafts in the past, you may be prone to further gum recession or have genetically thin tissue. Although whitening may be safe, you should always consult your dentist or periodontist to make sure that your gums are thick enough to withstand whitening agents. They may also offer you tips to protect your gums during the whitening process.

Keep in mind that if you have gum recession, that means that some of your tooth roots show. Roots are thinner and more porous than regular tooth enamel and may stain easier after some of the common over the counter whitening agents such as toothpastes and rinses. Tooth roots may also be more sensitive to cold after whitening.  

IF YOU HAVE IMPLANTS

If you have dental prostheses such as crowns or dental implants, whitening agents will not change their color and may damage their surfaces. Therefore, it is best to whiten your teeth before you have permanent crowns places. If you have implants, you can often whiten professionally so that your implants can be safely protected during the whitening process. 

IF YOU HAVE SENSITIVE TEETH OR GUMS

If you have sensitive teeth or gums either because of your periodontal issues, you may not be a good candidate for teeth whitening. So, before you decide to use any whitening products, it is important for you to discuss all your options with your dental professionals.

The good news is that many professional whitening gels and treatments are now formulated to reduce sensitivity. Your dental professionals can also offer tips on sensitivity products to use during whitening.

THE WHITENING LOW-DOWN

Seeking treatment for gum disease is your best bet for being able to safely whiten your teeth in the future. Once your gums are healthier, you may be able to professionally whiten your teeth with supervision.  

Although many over-the-counter whitening options are available, you should ask your dental professionals if they are right for you. Using over the counter whitening products are not always the best if you have periodontal disease, either active or stable. So, it’s best to discuss what products you use with your dental professionals who can offer guidance to the safest products that will help you gain the brightest smile.

Give us a call at 717.972.0031. Our Treatment Coordinators will be happy to answer any whitening questions you may have or schedule you for an appointment!



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