It is no secret that Americans have a slight obsession with ultra white teeth. Over the past few decades the obsession with oral hygiene has gone from healthy to downright dangerous for some people. In fact, it has gotten so severe with certain people that they are going to unhealthy lengths to get the brightest, whitest smile possible.
How Far is Too Far?
When patients become abusive of at-home whitening products, their teeth can become prone to sensitivity and their overall oral health can be eroded significantly as well. Despite the appearance of a beautiful, healthy smile their situation is often the exact opposite. In some cases this over-bleaching can even lead to more severe medical issues.
Over-bleaching your teeth can make them very weak and more prone to decay. Overuse of the bleaching agents found in most treatments can start to erode tooth enamel over time, leaving teeth sensitive and without a much needed protective layer. Additionally, the whitening agents contained in most bleaching products can also have a negative effect on the health of your gums. Irritation to the gums and even receding "are common in cases of over bleaching.
Unfortunately for patients with eroded enamel, there is no way to grow back lost enamel. In some cases their only treatment option for pain and sensitivity is to put veneers or crowns over the damaged teeth to relieve the pain. These procedures can be very costly and are not permanent solutions to the problem.
Put Safety First
Teeth whitening is not a new phenomenon. In fact, people have been working to find effective ways to get whiter smiles for centuries. But it wasn't until the 1980's that in-office procedures and at-home whitening tray kits became available that the obsession started harming patients oral health so significantly. Each year Americans are spending a surprising $1.4 billion on at-home whitening treatments alone, causing many dentists to have to deal with the aftermath in office.
While it is possible to safely bleach your teeth at home, over the counter treatments have made it far too easy for most whitening obsessed patients to cause harm to their oral health with over-bleaching. Although your dentist can prescribe a professional level of whitening, combining that with at-home treatments can be dangerous for your overall oral health. As with any major changes to your oral health routine, you should discuss whitening options with your dentist before beginning any treatment.