The Perils of Brighter Pearly Whites

Rich, delicious foods are great – in moderation. A flavorful wine is wonderful – in moderation. And teeth whitening can seriously improve a smile’s appearance – if used in moderation. For a few years now, the media has deemed people who over-bleach their teeth bleach-orexics. As a respected cosmetic dentist, Dr. James Fondriest condones professional teeth whitening, if administered with caution and regulation.

Why Bleaching Is Popular

Perhaps it started before ABC’s Extreme Makeover, but the show definitely fed into the public’s obsession with youthful beauty. There is  nothing wrong with wanting to look young, vibrant, and beautiful. However, when you compromise your health in the name of beauty, your priorities need an adjustment.

As humans age, our porous tooth enamel soaks up stains from foods, beverages, tobacco, and other substances. During youth, teeth are white – pearly white, in fact. To look younger, many people turn to over-the-counter or dentist-administered teeth whitening systems. If you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for using home whitening kits, and if you follow your dentist’s recommendations for whitening treatments, you should enjoy awesome results.

The Problem with Over Bleaching

However, many people become addicted to wanting a brighter, and brighter, and brighter smile. They over-use home whitening and visit multiple dentists for teeth whitening more often than is recommended. The results can be painful.

Over-bleaching your teeth can allow chemicals to wear down the protective layer of enamel on your teeth. Chemicals in bleaching can cause a burning sensation of the gums and other soft oral tissues. In some cases, temporary or permanent, intense tooth sensitivity occurs. The sensitivity ranges from mild to excruciating. Though most sensitivity is caused by temperature or pressure, bleachorexics sometimes complain of sensitivity to sound and air.

Responsible Teeth Whitening

Because of its ease and results, teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure. Dr. Fondriest suggests dentist-administered home whitening kits. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, he prescribes the FDA- and ADA-approved Night White and Day White systems by Discus Dental. Before prescribing treatment, however, Dr. Fondriest will assess your teeth and oral health. Night White and Day White come in varying strengths, so the doctor will evaluate your tooth discoloration prior to recommending treatment. Because of dehydration and resulting tooth sensitivity caused by some in-office bleaching, Dr. Fondriest does not recommend one-visit teeth whitening.

Dr. Fondriest offers a variety of cosmetic and restorative services to give you a youthful, beautiful smile. To schedule a consultation, call our  Lake Forest dental office at (847) 234-0517. We serve the Chicago, Illinois area, including the North Shore suburbs of Winnetka, Highland Park, Northbrook, Northfield, Glenview, Lincolnshire, Deerfield, Lake Bluff, Libertyville, Vernon Hills, Gurnee, Grayslake, and Barrington.

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