What are the disadvantages of walking bleach technique?

Answered by Jason Smith

The walking bleach technique is commonly used in dentistry to lighten discolored teeth. While it can be effective in achieving a whiter smile, there are several potential disadvantages and side effects that patients should be aware of.

1. Damage to fillings: The walking bleach technique involves placing a bleaching agent inside the tooth and sealing it with a temporary filling. Over time, the bleaching agent can weaken and deteriorate existing dental fillings, leading to a shorter lifespan for the restoration. This means that fillings may need to be replaced more frequently, resulting in additional dental visits and expenses.

2. Weakening of enamel: The bleaching agent used in the walking bleach technique can also weaken the enamel of the tooth. Enamel is the outer protective layer of the tooth, and excessive bleaching can cause it to become more porous and fragile. This can increase the risk of tooth sensitivity and make the tooth more prone to damage, such as chipping or cracking.

3. Cervical invasive resorption: One rare but serious side effect of the walking bleach technique is cervical invasive resorption. This occurs when the bleaching agent infiltrates the tooth’s root canal system and causes damage to the root structure. As a result, the tooth may become pink in color and may require additional treatment, such as root canal therapy or even extraction.

4. Temporary tooth sensitivity: It is common for patients to experience temporary tooth sensitivity after undergoing the walking bleach technique. This sensitivity can range from mild discomfort to sharp, shooting pain, particularly when consuming hot or cold foods and beverages. While the sensitivity usually subsides on its own after a few days or weeks, it can be bothersome during that time.

5. Ineffectiveness on certain types of discoloration: The walking bleach technique is most effective in lightening intrinsic stains, which are discolorations that occur within the tooth. However, it may not be as effective on extrinsic stains, which are surface stains caused by external factors like coffee, tea, or tobacco use. In such cases, alternative whitening treatments, such as professional teeth cleaning or in-office whitening, may be more suitable.

While the walking bleach technique can produce desirable results in teeth whitening, it is important to consider the potential disadvantages and side effects. Damage to existing fillings, weakening of enamel, cervical invasive resorption, temporary tooth sensitivity, and limited effectiveness on certain types of discoloration are all possible drawbacks. It is crucial to consult with a qualified dentist to assess individual suitability for the procedure and discuss the potential risks and benefits.