One of the defining features of a smile is its brightness. The primary contributor to a bright smile is the teeth’s whiteness. Therefore, the primary school of thought is that the whiter the teeth, the cleaner and brighter the smile. This assertion leads more and more people to seek teeth whitening treatments.

With the ever-increasing popularity of teeth whitening, it is important to consider the pros and cons of the procedure. Mainly, it would help if you inquired about the potential side effects of this treatment. So, before you make an appointment with your doctor for teeth whitening, please note its potential pitfalls. In particular, consider the link between teeth whitening and gum recession.

What is Teeth Whitening?

Teeth whitening is when a dentist removes discolouration and stains from teeth, thus making them appear whiter and brighter.

The procedure entails the dentist applying a whitening gel containing up to 40% hydrogen peroxide before using a special lamp or laser to clean the teeth. Your dentist covers your lips, tongue and gums to prevent the gel from acting beyond your teeth. 

On the other hand, you can whiten your teeth at home using a gel whitening kit. These kits have a smaller version of the speciality light- including usage instructions.

Can Teeth Whitening Cause Gum Recession?

Unfortunately, yes. It is possible for teeth whitening to cause gum recession. This effect occurs due to the peroxide (the whitening agent in the gel) irritating your gums. The peroxide behaves similarly to bleach; thus, any contact with your gums causes a burning sensation.

When the peroxide gets on your gums, you may develop white spots. In addition, the chemical may cause gum inflammation, which can lead to infections. Infections and weak gums are common leading causes of gum recession.

Teeth whitening at home is more likely to cause these dental issues. Conversely, you face a significantly lower risk of gum recession if you go to a dentist for teeth whitening treatment. As mentioned earlier, dentists take additional precautions- by covering your gums-thus preventing the chemicals from seeping into the wrong places. Moreover, they monitor any irritation and swiftly enact corrective measures before any damage can occur.

Can You Whiten Teeth With Receding Gums?

No. It is not prudent to use any teeth whitening materials if you have receding gums. Your gums must be thick and healthy; otherwise, you risk causing further complications.

In addition, gum recession exposes your teeth’s roots. The roots lack the tooth’s enamel layer that covers the teeth, meaning such exposure allows more severe effects from the whitening chemicals. In addition, the peroxides can make the roots thinner and more sensitive to irritations like cold while significantly increasing the risk of tooth decay. 

If you are experiencing gum recession, it is best to seek treatment options such as:

  • Scaling and root planing.
  • Gum graft surgery.
  • Pinhole surgical technique.

Once the Gum Issue is Resolved, You Can Proceed With the Whitening Procedure.

Teeth whitening is an excellent smile restoration method. Whiter teeth boost not only your appearance but also your confidence. However, it is best to opt for professional treatment. By turning to a dentist, you can rest assured that there is less risk of gum irritation and inflammation that may result in gum recession. Conversely, if your gums are already receding, it’s best to seek treatment before you begin any whitening.