Dentists typically recommend delaying teeth whitening treatments when you are struggling with gum disease. Gum disease is a condition that is caused by a bacterial infection of gum tissues. This leads to an immune system response, causing irritation and inflammation. The result is damage to teeth structures and the tissues that hold them in place.
Gum disease is a serious oral condition that has been linked to a variety of chronic health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. The early stage called gingivitis is reversible, so dentists place priority on bringing gum disease under control over cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening.
The more advanced stage of gum disease known as periodontitis can lead to teeth falling out of their socket. There is no point whitening teeth that might fall out in the near future if gum disease has not been properly addressed.
Whitening treatments involve using powerful bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide or hydrogen carbamide that can irritate soft tissues in the gums. A customized mouth tray is often used to administer whitening treatments to prevent the bleaching agent from getting into soft tissues in the mouth. The mouth tray is an effective way to protect these soft tissues, but it does not offer 100% protection.
The gums and teeth of a person with gum disease are already irritated and inflamed as a result of their condition, so even a little bit of whitening product making contact with them can lead to pain and discomfort that can last weeks. In some cases, the chemicals in the whitening product might end up causing permanent damage to teeth structures that have been weakened by gum disease.
For people with gum disease, the teeth whitening process starts with the dentist evaluating the severity of their condition. Minor gum disease can be treated with simple procedures like teeth cleaning. More advanced cases of gum disease can be treated with procedures like scaling and root planing, gum flap surgery, and pinhole surgery.
The dentists will craft a treatment plan that addresses the patient’s gum disease, and they should be able to proceed with teeth whitening later down the road. They will be drastically less likely to deal with complications following whitening treatments once the infection of their gum tissues is under control.
The process for whitening the teeth of patients with gum disease does not deviate much from the standard approach. A custom mouth tray is made from an impression of the patient’s mouth and it is used to protect their gums from the bleaching product. A protective gel might also be rubbed on the patient’s gums for extra protection. The dentist might opt to use a less concentrated bleaching agent for patients who have gum disease since these are gentler on teeth and gum tissues.
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A white set of teeth can drastically improve the way you look. Give us a call or visit our Scottsdale clinic to learn more about the whitening process.