Can Too Much Whitening Damage Tooth Enamel?

All of us want the same brilliant, white smiles that we see in stunning high-def on the silver screen, but a mouth full of Chiclets comes at a cost, as most celebrities know. You probably won't pay as much as your favorite actors and models do (the price of being famous often includes paying more for everything, including celebrity doctors and dentists). But you'll still have to shell out for any number of pricy procedures, whether it's an OTC strip or gel kit ($30-50), custom bleaching trays from your dentist ($200-300), or fast and effective laser whitening (approximately $1K). And while there are definitely benefits to using chemical or light treatments to reverse the staining damage caused by many natural foods (coffee, tea, wine, etc.), as well as food dyes, returning your teeth to a brighter state, there are also some potential side effects associated with these procedures.


The main issue most people face is discomfort or pain during and immediately following bleaching procedures. Depending on the individual, there may be issues with chemicals irritating the gums or the procedure as a whole leading to tooth sensitivity. Most people can handle the mild discomfort caused by these side effects for the duration of the treatment (whether that's one hour under the laser light or two weeks with the bleaching trays) with nothing more than some Ibuprofen (or nothing at all). Others may experience extreme pain. It all depends. You may also swallow some of the bleaching gel, leading to stomach pain and nausea (although you'd have to ingest quite a bit for it to be truly dangerous).

However, another problem that concerns many people who opt to whiten their teeth is the prospect of damaging tooth enamel. But what are the chances of this happening? In truth, they are fairly low, but they seem to be more likely when you use at-home whitening kits than when you go in for professional procedures. And studies have shown that bleaching trays in home kits (as opposed to strips) tend to be more detrimental than strips or other delivery systems. This could be because of the concentrated dosage of chemicals needed for treatments that are only on your teeth for a short amount of time (although they are generally applied over the course of several days). And the more you use them the more likely they are to cause lasting damage to your enamel.

Enamel, which protects your teeth, can actually restore itself to some extent after bleaching, which is encouraging. And of course, we have long been aware of the benefits of using fluoride, which include the remineralization of enamel. While studies have shown that only a miniscule amount of enamel is lost in the bleaching process (and even then the procedures must be repeated fairly frequently to show any kind of significant damage) you still might want to skip the home treatments and spend a few extra bucks to visit the nearest dentist Atlanta to Albany to Anchorage. After all, you need enamel to protect your teeth from decay; unless of course you're keen to court cavities in exchange for whiter teeth.

(Guest Post by Carol)

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Constant application of teeth whitening strips to the teeth usually leads to erosion of enamel that results in tooth sensitivity. Apart from this, if you eat and drink very hot or cold foods, it will result in dental pain.


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