What Side Effects Does Teeth Whitening Have?

02/14/23 15 MIN Read

Teeth whitening is generally a safe procedure and has minimum to no side effects when done professionally while opting for at-home solutions has a higher chance of causing side effects. 

While there can be negative side effects after a teeth whitening treatment, the majority of such side effects are short-term and usually disappear within a few days. Such side effects may include gum sensitivity, hypersensitivity, tooth discomfort, and uneven tint. Such side effects occur more often when patients choose at-home remedies instead of professional teeth whitening treatments, therefore, those who are considering teeth whitening should always prioritize a visit to the dentist’s clinic instead of taking the risk of at-home remedies.

Professional teeth whitening treatments are safer because your dentist will check the overall state of your teeth and use the best teeth whitening option for you and your oral health. 

Here’s everything you need to know about teeth whitening treatment and its possible side effects

What is Teeth Whitening?

The term “teeth whitening” describes a number of procedures intended to enhance the brightness and whiteness of someone’s natural teeth. Sanding off stains, whitening, ultraviolet (UV) light treatment, and other techniques are also used to whiten teeth. Professional teeth whitening can last anywhere between six months to 3 years.


Professional teeth whitening should be the first option for everyone who’s considering getting a teeth whitening treatment. However, there are also numerous at-home options you may try. It is highly recommended to get professional teeth whitening by experts in order to avoid possible side effects. 

Tooth sensitivity and gum discomfort are two unfavorable side effects of several teeth whitening techniques.

What Side Effects Does Teeth Whitening Have?

When performing a treatment, dentists take every safety measure to reduce the possibility of tooth discomfort and gum inflammation. However, negative effects can occasionally happen, particularly for people who use non-prescription, over-the-counter whitening kits.

Improper teeth whitening may lead to sensitive teeth:

One of the most often mentioned negative impacts of teeth whitening is tooth discomfort. This could happen if a patient has a compromised tooth or if the bleaching solution is not used correctly.

The greatest approach to reduce the risk of hypersensitivity both before and after treatment is with in-office whitening since the dental expert may administer the bleaching solution in the safest manner.

To lessen the chance of sensitivity, dentists frequently suggest certain treatments prior to bleaching, if necessary. For instance, dentists could advise tooth fillings for a patient with cavities before the whitening operation.

Improper teeth whitening can result in gum irritation:

A dental dam is used to isolate the tooth from the gums prior to in-office bleaching. This greatly lowers the possibility of gum inflammation. Incorrect isolation of the gums or improper use of a take-home or store-bought kit, however, might result in gum discomfort. Especially when it is done in the clinic and by a dental expert, most patients don’t really encounter any problems with gum inflammation.

Unsuitable teeth whitening practices can lead to enamel erosion:

Enamel surface thinning or enamel erosion is an uncommon but potentially adverse effect of teeth whitening. Overuse of bleaching chemicals during the treatment might result in enamel loss both during and after. Fluoride, calcium, and potassium nitrate are typically used in whitening formulas to protect against enamel degradation and surface loss. Enamel loss is more likely if these ingredients are missing from the mix. This adverse impact, meanwhile, is uncommon and rarely occurs in people with sensitive teeth and cases of dental inexperience.

The teeth whitening method you choose is vital for the effectiveness of the procedure and the reduction of adverse effects. It’s highly recommended to opt for professional teeth whitening treatments rather than at-home remedies. 

Improper teeth whitening can lead to severe temperature sensitivity:

After utilizing whitening strips, trays, or pens, mild irritation is typical but shouldn’t last for more than 48 hours. You’ll become sensitive to extremely hot or cold meals and beverages. This adverse effect can develop from a variety of causes, but the most common reaction to hydrogen peroxide is to blame. An allergic response to peroxides is yet another explanation that could exist. In certain cases, people misuse at-home whitening solutions, which causes enamel erosion.

Inappropriate teeth whitening procedure can lead to throat irritation:

Throat irritation is an often unnoticed adverse effect. Few individuals consider the possibility that some of the whitening agents you use throughout the process may be consumed. Your throat will become irritated by this. Therefore, you may get a scrape, sore throat, and tingling for one day or so. Call your doctor if you experience this for more than a day.

The Solution for the Side Effects

The aforementioned side effects are very common for patients who go through a teeth whitening treatment. But such side effects can be resolved or avoided by following simple suggestions. Also, patients should consult their dentists after a teeth cleaning treatment about the side effects they are experiencing. 

Avoid Acidic and Sugary Foods

You should stay away from meals that are high in sugar and acid after getting teeth whitening therapy. As we already discussed, the tubules or “pores” in your teeth are weakened by the whitening process. Acidic meals and sugar will make the enamel more brittle. These foods should be avoided because the sugar they contain damages the teeth’s natural structure. They could encourage the growth of any bacteria that causes tooth decay, which might cause sensitivity and discoloration.

Additionally, most items like candy and ice cream that include artificial sugar also contain food coloring. Further, avoiding chewy meals will reduce the chance of injury. Stains might develop on the teeth if the sticky food remains attached to the enamel of the teeth. Additionally, it can harm teeth that have recently had a chemical procedure on their surface. Try to stay away from meals that are very chewy as well as those that are acidic and sweet.

Avoid Consuming Food or Beverages That Are Overly Hot or Cold

After having their teeth whitened, many people often make the error of consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. There may likely be some degree of sensitivity following the teeth whitening operation. You ought to stay away from anything that can have really high temperatures at this time. Certain people’s teeth may not tolerate even lukewarm water.

Final Thoughts

Teeth whitening is overall a safe treatment when you choose a professional clinic rather than doing it at home. Patients should always consult their dentist before starting their treatment and follow the suggestions of dentists for better and long-lasting results. 

If you have any questions or concerns about teeth whitening treatments contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dentists and let us help you maintain your beautiful smile! 

Or you can contact us using one of these other means:


Lamberti, B. (2023, February 2). How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last? | Abington Center. Abington Center for Cosmetic & Family Dentistry. https://abingtoncenter.com/how-long-does-teeth-whitening-last/

Taşkın, D. C. (2022, April 12). Types of teeth whitening: what’s the best one for you? Find out here! Dental Treatment Turkey. https://dentfixturkey.com/types-of-teeth-whitening/

Dentistry, T. (2020, September 11). Sensitive Teeth After Whitening | Triangle Dentistry. Triangle Dentistry. https://triangledentistry.com/sensitive-teeth-after-whitening/

Side Effects of Teeth Whitening | Byford Smiles. (2001, August 22). Byford Smiles. https://byfordsmiles.com.au/side-effects-of-teeth-whitening/

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