Whitening and Pregnancy: What to Expect

A new baby is on the way — but is a smile makeover with teeth whitening while pregnant also on the cards?

Every woman wants to look her best, and especially during the most important times of her life — and that doesn’t only mean her wedding day but also when she’s pregnant and about to give birth. Just because you’re going through nine months that at times can be uncomfortable, or even when you’re ill because of morning sickness, doesn’t mean you can’t also take care of your appearance. So what about teeth whitening and pregnancy — is it going to negatively affect your developing fetus if you have it done?

First, let’s look at what teeth whitening is, and if it’s effective in making your teeth so much brighter, and if it’s safe. If you’re looking for the best kinds of teeth whitening, it’s best to avoid the type of DIY kits you may have seen in the shops; your dentist may have a professional one that you can use in the comfort of your own home over the course of several weeks. Teeth whitening bleaches the teeth, but it won’t make them dazzlingly white — instead, you can expect the current colour of your teeth to lighten by a number of shades.

If it’s celebrity-white you’re after for your teeth, you might want to consider having some crowns or veneers fitted. These will give you the kind of teeth you may have been dreaming of, as they’ll all be in perfect alignment and incredibly white. You can now get a smile makeover in Ireland in as little as a day, thanks to the introduction of new computer-aided technology that scans teeth and makes crowns and veneers during a visit to the dentist, which are then fitted.

Is Teeth Whitening During Pregnancy Safe?

Whether you’re pregnant or not, it’s important to avoid having your teeth whitened at places other than dental clinics, and if you see beauty salons offering such a service, it’s probably illegal — don’t even consider it because the staff will most likely have no qualifications to carry out such a procedure. That’s because of the chemicals used in the whitening process that can affect the gums or the teeth themselves if they’re sensitive. It’s also possible that some home teeth whitening kits can damage the tooth enamel.

We are protected to some extent, however, as several years ago, new European Union legislation came into force banning tooth whitening products that have more than 6% hydrogen peroxide — the bleaching agent — in them. It means that if you buy a teeth whitening kit in the shops, it can only contain a maximum 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, but dentists can use up to 6% at their clinics.

There’s almost no research into how teeth whitening may affect pregnant women and the child they’re carrying; and indeed, in some countries, such as the UK, it’s against the law to have it done. If you’re planning a pregnancy and have been thinking about having your teeth whitened, it may be best to do it before you get pregnant or wait until after your baby arrives.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

If you have teeth whitening done, before or after pregnancy, you may wonder how long the results will last. The answer is that it depends — on your oral care but also your diet. If you drink a lot of tea and coffee, for example, you can expect your newly whitened teeth to go shades darker fairly soon; the same is true for red wine and cigarettes, which badly stain the teeth.

But if you take care of your teeth and regularly brush them, teeth whitening can last anywhere from a few months up to a year or more. It doesn’t, however, work on dentures or fillings, or crowns and veneers, as these materials are impervious to the whitening agent.

Above all, if you think you might soon be pregnant, or already are, or have given birth and are breastfeeding, it’s always best to speak to a medical professional — in this case, your dentist — before having any procedure, including teeth whitening, done.

If you’re looking for a smile makeover in Ireland but not sure if you want crowns or veneers or a professional teeth whitening kit that you can use at home, contact The James Clinic today and our friendly dentists will be happy to advise. Get in touch now.