Many dental patients choose to use teeth bleaching to help themselves feel better about their smiles. Done correctly, teeth whitening can help erase stains and give your teeth a pearly sheen. Whether you use an over-the-counter bleaching aid or you have your dentist make you a bleaching tray and provide you with the whitening agent, tooth whitening is a simple way to make your smile sparkle! Unfortunately, you can have too much of a good thing; using tooth whitening substances too often or using substances that aren’t meant for teeth can permanently damage your smile. Read on to find out more about what some dentists are calling “bleachorexia.”
What Are Dangerous Ways to Whiten Teeth?
In general, anything outside of using your teeth whitening product as directed can be risky. When you use these products properly and under a dentist’s supervision, they are very safe; common side effects might be increased tooth sensitivity or some gum irritation, but as long as you heed the warnings and see your dentist if you are having trouble, using teeth whitening trays and solution as directed is fine.
Using the trays for a longer period of time than directed, using the solution more frequently than directed or using a product that is not recommended for use on teeth, however, can all contribute to permanent damage. Also, continuing to use a bleaching product after experiencing minor side effects without talking to your dentist first could lead to further problems.
Signs of Damage
The very first signs of problems related to whitening trays and solutions are usually mild and easy to reverse. If you see that your gums are looking red and feeling irritated, or that hot and cold foods are making you wince, make an appointment with your dentist to get it checked out. In the meantime, you should stop using your bleaching trays unless your dentist tells you otherwise.
If left unchecked and you are misusing your teeth whitening trays, there are some irreversible problems that can occur. These include:
- Brittle teeth
- Chalky teeth
- Translucent teeth
- Receding gums
Note that these will not be a problem if you are using your trays correctly and as directed!
If you are whitening your teeth, either with a tray fabricated by us or with one that you bought over the counter, be sure to keep in touch and let us know if you are experiencing any problems. Though they are considered safe and effective, tooth whitening treatments are like anything else in that you can have too much of a good thing! Please call your dental office if you have any questions.