There’s no question that teeth whitening services, which have grown increasingly popular over the last 25 years, are among the simplest and most affordable cosmetic dentistry options available to patients these days, and it’s hard to argue with how great the results often look. We all love a gorgeous set of pearly whites, and Jamestowne South Dental and the team at Perfecting Your Smile offer excellent teeth whitening services in Bingham Farms for that very reason.
However, some people can grow addicted to certain over-the-counter teeth whitening products, and since these at-home teeth whitening kits are available without a dentist’s supervision or prescription, that addiction can be problematic for your teeth.
Bleachorexia: An Addiction to Tooth Whitening
The clinical term for an addiction to tooth whitening is bleachorexia. In cases like this, a patient feels as though their teeth can never be white enough, so they use more and increasingly powerful tooth whiteners to achieve what they consider to be a “perfect” smile. It is technically a type of body dysmorphia not unlike anorexia, from which bleachorexia takes its name.
The Effects of Bleachorexia
As with anorexia and many other types of body dysmorphia, bleachorexia can have dangerous consequences on the body. While the teeth whitening services provided by Jamestowne South Dental are safe in moderation and under the supervision of a dentist, overuse of over-the-counter teeth whiteners can lead to some major problems. These include:
- Enamel Erosion. The most serious side effect of over-bleaching is the removal of the enamel that protects your teeth from bacteria and cavities. Stripping the enamel from your teeth is like stripping the varnish from cured wood, as both leave the underlying material vulnerable to decay. We have found that patients with bleachorexia will often require dental crowns to save their teeth.
- Oral Sensitivity. Most teeth whitening services come with a bit of temporary tooth sensitivity, but chronic use can lead to chronic sensitivity. This could lead to a dull ache in the gums or excruciating pain. Either way, it isn’t just the teeth that are impacted by overtreatment; the gums are affected, as well.
- Translucent Teeth. Worst of all for those trying to whiten their teeth is that over-use of these products can make teeth less white. Instead, it can turn teeth translucent and strip them of their natural sheen, reversing the effects of what these people were trying to accomplish in the first place.
Whiten Your Teeth Safely with Jamestowne South Dental
None of this is to scare people away from using teeth whitening services here at Perfecting Your Smile. When performed under the observation and care of a dentist, these cosmetic dental procedures are perfectly safe and really can make your smile sparkle. But as with all good things in life, it should be done in moderation. Anything done to excess can be dangerous, and that includes whitening one’s teeth. If you have questions or concerns about your history of using teeth whiteners or simply want it done the right way, contact us any time to get yourself on a path toward whiter teeth in a way that’s safe and sustainable.