According to a recent study done last year, the importance of whiter teeth is evidenced by the $1.4 billion dollars Americans spent on over-the-counter whiteners in 2010.  It is likely that 2011 will showcase even higher numbers as at-home teeth whitening products become easier to use, more effective, and more affordable.

There are however some setbacks to these take-home treatments as some dentists are finding that their patients are taking the whitening craze a bit too far.  The increase in over-the-counter whitening methods has also brought up patient concerns such as:

  • Sensitivity of tooth enamel
  • Red, irritated gums
  • Hot and cold sensitivity on your teeth
  • A bluish-white translucent appearance on the edges of your teeth

Some of the problems associated with the above concerns have to do with the bleach effecting the nerve of the tooth. If you have a portion of your tooth that is open due to a cavity, the bleach can travel directly into the pulp tissue and potentially cause the nerve of the tooth to die.

Although tooth whitening is an attractive solution to improving one’s appearance there are still special measures that should be taken in order to avoid issues with your teeth and gums.  In fact, the American Dental Association (ADA) does not endorse over-the-counter bleaching products because they believe that professional consultation is important to ensuring safe and effective use.  If you are considering teeth whitening consult with your dentist first regarding what is right for you..