We’re always asked by our patients if whitening their teeth is harmful… When in fact, it’s just the opposite. Whitening your teeth can be very safe and effective while actually strengthening your enamel. Many professional whitening products sold by dentists today contain agents such as Potassium Nitrate, Fluoride and Calcium Phosphate. Using whitening products containing these agents will help prevent tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is a relatively common side effect of bleaching. It only lasts while you are actively whitening your teeth and will dissipate after you have finished the procedure. In addition there are also prescribed products available that can be used in your daily routine to help with any sensitivity.So how does whitening actually work? The whitening process is possible from the ability of both carbamide and hydrogen peroxide to pass freely through enamel and dentin to permeate all parts of the tooth. These peroxides break down into oxygen radicals, which migrate between the enamel prisms, breaking down any colored molecules that result in tooth discoloration. This process leaves the tooth unaltered and the color is simply made lighter.Should you purchase whitening product at the store or at your dental office? A prescribed whitening system is custom-built for you and your needs. The product typically has a higher percentage of peroxide, which means that you will wear the product for less time and finish the procedure in fewer days. Also, being monitored by a dental professional will ensure proper product use and placement, in addition to any questions you may have along the way. For these reasons, we would always recommend using a dental professional for whitening over purchasing an over-the-counter alternative.