Can I Have Teeth Whitening With Gum Disease?

Teeth Whitening Baltimore, MD

The very first step in teeth whitening treatment is the dental exam. A cosmetic dentist will use the exam to check that their patient is in good oral health. They will check for cavities, mouth sores, injury and gum disease.

Best practice dictates that the cosmetic dentist treats all underlying oral health issues before they clear their patient for teeth whitening. This is easy enough for problems like tooth decay, where the dentist will place dental restorations to reverse the damage. Gum disease is a different animal altogether.

Gum disease takes time to resolve, even with aggressive treatment. Does that mean that a patient who suffers from gum disease and stained teeth will have to wait for months before they get to enjoy a nice smile? To answer this question, you need to dive into the nature of dental bleach and its effects on infected gum tissue.

How the active agent in teeth whitening gels works

Dentists use a type of bleach to remove stains from teeth. Whitening agents work their magic by adding or absorbing oxygen molecules from dyes, or in the case of teeth, stains. Substances that are quick to shed or absorb oxygen molecules are usually reactive. To put it another way, bleaching agents are mildly or moderately corrosive. Teeth whitening agents share this property.

It is for this reason that dentists use dental dams to shield the soft tissues of the mouth when they perform in-office teeth whitening treatments. If the dentist notices broken skin or sores in the patient’s mouth, they will ask the patient to wait until the broken skin heals. 

What gum disease and other dental problems looks like

Gum disease is an infection that affects gum tissue, causing inflammation, soreness and bleeding. As a result, the surface of infected gum tissue becomes vulnerable to sores and broken skin. Also, advanced gum disease exposes the tooth roots, which are pretty much soft tissue with no enamel coating.

The same logic holds for cavities, fractures, cuts, sores and chipped teeth. All these conditions expose vulnerable tissue that should be sealed behind enamel or skin.

How teeth whitening gel affects exposed tissue in the teeth and mouth

If teeth whitening gel comes into contact with tooth roots and other soft tissue, a patient would experience a significant level of discomfort or pain. The patient would have the same experience if they were to buy store-bought teeth whitening solutions.

This is the reason why it is always a good idea to see a dentist for teeth whitening. The dentist will insist that their patient undergo treatment for all outstanding oral health issues before they address cosmetic problems.

An individual who decides to chart their own course despite suffering from gum disease would learn a hard and potentially painful lesson.

The journey to a great smile starts with a chat

You need to talk to a dentist before you start the process of improving your smile. Call our practice to set up an appointment.

Request an appointment here: or call Perkins Dental Care at (410) 844-0632 for an appointment in our Baltimore office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Teeth Whitening in Baltimore, MD.

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