Celebrity endorsers and social media influencers have spurred the recent meteoric rise of do-it-yourself (DIY) teeth whitening and straightening products. Promising cheap, quick-and-easy fix for stunning pearly whites and straighter teeth, these cosmetic dentistry kits could potentially be harmful.

While at-home cosmetic dental treatments might work in certain cases, they carry a lot of risks for complications especially when done without the proper supervision of a dental professional. So, before jumping on the bandwagon, it pays to know more about these products, how they work and their potential pitfalls.

man pointing at a mirror while holding a toothbrush

Teeth Bleaching Treatments

About 50% of consumers who whiten their teeth buy over-the-counter kits sold in chemists or online. These teeth whitening or bleaching kits usually include a universal mouth tray, whitening gel and an LED light activator. The effectiveness of these kits vary from person to person. They may help reduce surface discolouration caused by drinks such as tea, coffee or red wine, but are hardly effective for deep-seated dental stains.

Some products claim the use of ‘all-natural’ and ‘peroxide-free’ treatment, promising 8 to 10 shades whiter teeth. Some of these alternative chemicals such as citric acid, sodium chlorite or sodium perborate could cause teeth sensitivity, teeth erosion and even poisoning when accidentally ingested. To avoid damaging your teeth and gums, seek advice from your dentist or oral health therapist before using whitening kits.

Teeth Straightening Kits

Braces are the traditional orthodontic treatment for a straighter smile. These days, one need not even see a dentist in person to get teeth straightening kits. Online companies offer treatment plans for custom-made aligners that could help straighten teeth at a fraction of the cost and time it takes using braces. But how effective and safe are they?

DIY teeth aligners can make your bite worse if it is not assessed properly by a dental practitioner. This is because everyone’s bite is different and sometimes requires additional jaw surgery to correct the position of teeth. A comprehensive dental x-ray assessment of your teeth and jaws is required to ensure you are getting the right treatment. Dentists and specialist orthodontists also look for signs of gum diseases and other dental problems that require attention beyond cosmetic tooth alignment.

Teeth-Whitening Toothpaste, Rinses, Gels and Strips

Chemists and supermarket shelves now display hundreds of teeth-whitening products including toothpastes, rinses, gels and strips. These over-the-counter products usually contain hydrogen peroxide that removes surface stains over time. Some have a low concentration, rendering them ineffective, while others have unacceptable levels that could be harmful to your health. So, don’t get easily tricked by exaggerated advertising claims.

Professional Dental Advice is Your Safest Bet

When it comes to healthy gleaming white and straight teeth, you are in safe hands with a qualified dental professional. If for some reason you’re unable to see your dentist or oral health therapist, we are always a call away. Contact us today to discuss the pros and cons of cosmetic dental treatments you’re considering and what will work best for you.