Thinking About DIY Teeth Whitening? Think Again

DIY Teeth Whitening Drawbacks

Whitening your teeth can be an attractive and simple way to improve your smile, but did you know that DIY teeth whitening can actually be damaging to your oral health? Even though you may see ads for DIY whitening products that claim to be safe and effective, there are common negative side effects. 

From using harsh chemicals to the lack of proper application techniques, going the DIY route can lead to tooth sensitivity, gum irritation, and sores in your mouth. In some cases, DIY whitening can weaken your tooth enamel.

Dr. Guneet Alag with Fab Dental shares the risks of home whitening, how to minimize damage, and how professional treatments are safer, below.

Why You Shouldn’t DIY Whiten

DIY teeth whitening may seem like an easy and affordable solution, but it can affect your oral health for a number of reasons. Of course, not all DIY whitening products are going to destroy your teeth, but you shouldn’t apply a product to your teeth if you don’t know exactly how it’s going to affect your dental health.

Chemicals are harsh on the teeth and gums

One of the main dangers of DIY teeth whitening is the use of harmful chemicals. Many over-the-counter whitening products contain high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which can be very harsh on the teeth and gums. When these chemicals are not used properly, they can cause significant irritation, sensitivity, and even chemical burns. Additionally, the long-term use of these chemicals can lead to tooth surface roughening and softening that can increase the risk of cavities, gum disease, and other oral health problems.

Harmful ingredients worsen health problems

Some DIY teeth whitening products contain other harmful ingredients, such as alcohol, that can dry out the mouth and lead to further oral health problems. When considering DIY teeth whitening, it’s important to thoroughly research the products and ingredients being used and to consult with a dental professional before trying them out.

Significant discomfort to gums

Another danger of DIY teeth whitening is the need for proper application techniques. Many at-home whitening kits come with generic instructions that may not take into account individual differences in dental anatomy and sensitivity. Improper application of the whitening gel can lead to uneven results, increased sensitivity, and gum irritation. Furthermore, if the whitening gel is not applied correctly, it can even leak into the gums and cause significant discomfort.

DIY whitening products often come in one-size-fits-all trays, but of course, no two mouths are the same. This can lead to the whitening gel coming into contact with the gums, causing further irritation and sensitivity.

Professional Teeth Whitening Benefits

The Benefits of Professional Teeth Whitening

By choosing professional teeth whitening treatments, you can avoid these potential side effects and ensure that your smile stays healthy and comfortable. Trained dental professionals use special techniques and products to minimize sensitivity and gum irritation, and they can provide customized treatment plans to address any underlying oral health concerns. This way, you can enjoy a brighter, whiter smile without sacrificing your oral health.

Safe and effective

The importance of using professional-grade whitening products can’t be understated. Teeth whitening is a medical procedure, and the whitening agent causes permanent changes to your teeth. As such, you should be cautious of exactly what type of product you’re willing to apply to your teeth. Unlike over-the-counter whitening products, professional teeth whitening treatments use high-quality, professional-grade products that are specifically formulated for safe and effective use in the mouth. These products contain lower concentrations of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which reduces the risk of sensitivity, irritation, and damage in the mouth or tooth.

Performed by trained dental professionals

In addition, professional teeth whitening treatments are performed by trained dental professionals who understand the proper techniques for using these products. They take the time to carefully monitor the process and adjust the treatment as needed to ensure that the whitening gel is applied evenly and effectively. They can also provide a customized application, including fitting the whitening tray to your mouth. This results in a brighter, whiter smile with minimal risk of side effects.

Tailored treatment

Another key benefit of professional teeth whitening is the ability to provide customized treatment plans for individual needs. Unlike generic over-the-counter whitening products, professional teeth whitening treatments take into account the unique anatomy and needs of each individual. This ensures that the treatment is tailored to your specific needs and provides the best possible results.

Your dental provider will consider factors such as the severity of tooth discoloration, the cause of the discoloration, and any underlying oral health conditions before developing a customized treatment plan. They can also provide additional services and treatments to enhance the results of teeth whitening, such as fluoride treatments, dental cleanings, and other preventative care measures. This results in a more comprehensive approach to oral health that improves the appearance of your smile and helps to maintain the overall health of your teeth and gums.

By choosing professional teeth whitening, you can be sure that you are getting a customized treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs and provides the best possible results.

How to Find a Qualified Dental Professional

How to Find a Qualified Dental Professional

If you’re going to opt for a professional whitening treatment, it’s important to choose a qualified dental professional to perform the treatment. Not all dental professionals have the same level of training and expertise, and choosing the right one can make a big difference in the quality of your treatment and the results you achieve.

Check for certifications

When looking for a dental provider, check for certifications and professional associations. Dental professionals who are members of professional organizations and have earned certifications in their field are more likely to be up-to-date on the latest techniques and technologies in dentistry and are committed to providing high-quality care to their patients.

For example, you may want to look for a dental professional who is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA) or the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). These organizations require their members to meet certain standards of education and experience, and they offer ongoing training and resources to help members stay current in their field.

In addition, you may want to look for dental professionals who have earned certifications in cosmetic dentistry or teeth whitening. These certifications indicate that the dental professional has received specialized training in these areas and is able to provide high-quality, effective treatment.

Read online reviews

Just as with all online shopping, you should always read online reviews from other whitening patients. Online reviews can provide valuable insight into the experiences of other patients and can help you get a sense of the quality of care provided by a particular dental professional.

You can also research the dental professional’s credentials, including their education, training, and experience. This information can be found on their website, through professional organizations, or through dental boards. You may also want to ask the dental professional about their experience with teeth whitening and their approach to the treatment.

Schedule a consultation

Before you commit to a provider, it’s important to schedule a consultation with the dental professional to discuss your options and expectations for your teeth whitening treatment. A consultation allows you to get to know the dental professional and their approach to treatment, and it provides an opportunity for you to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have.

During the consultation, the dental professional will assess your oral health and the severity of your tooth discoloration, and they will discuss the different options available for teeth whitening. They will also explain the expected results of the treatment, the cost, and the length of the treatment.


It’s important to choose a dental professional who is open and transparent about the treatment process and who is willing to work with you to achieve your desired results. A good dental professional will take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions, and they will work with you to develop a treatment plan that meets your individual needs and goals.