The obsession with having very white teeth The obsession with having very white teeth

Bleachorexia is the name that has been used to describe the effect that is achieved from this dental procedure. Learn about its consequences.

 Advisors: Eugenia Forero Forero -Specialist in Maxillofacial Surgery, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare
Natalia Berdugo – Dentist

Teeth whitening is a dental procedure designed to lighten the tone of the teeth’s enamel through an oxidation process that makes the enamel whiter. As the dentist Natalia Berdugo explains, there is a current obsession with having very white teeth, known as “bleachorexia.” This excessive practice causes the tooth to turn an opaque white color and lose its natural shine. The recommendation, Berdugo adds, is to get an annual checkup if the dentist determines it is necessary.

Before performing the procedure, it is important to get a full checkup by a dentist to make sure you do not have any cavities, swollen gums that bleed or tartar buildup. It is also important to make sure the roots of your teeth are not exposed and that you do not have an extensive restoration. In patients whose teeth are stained from taking tetracycline, teeth whitening should be avoided because the teeth must be treated before bleaching.

Pregnant women or women who are nursing should also not perform the procedure, as well as patients who are minors or have undergone radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Exceptions may apply for some children if low concentrations are used.

After the procedure

It is important to clarify that no procedure is permanent. As Eugenia Forero Forero explains, a specialist in maxillofacial surgery, after the procedure, patients must practice good oral hygiene and not eat foods that could damage the bleaching such as beta-carotenes and dark drinks like soda, hot chocolate, tea and coffee. They should also avoid smoking.

 As Forero adds, with dental fractures, traumas or systemic diseases that affect the oral cavity, or in the case of ulcers or any lesion of the oral mucous membranes, it is best not to get teeth whitening.

2 times a year, at a minimum, is how often you should visit the dentist as a preventive measure.

Possible side effects

Sensitivity: this may occur with very cold or very hot foods. This symptom is temporary, however. The gums may also bleed and become inflamed (inflammation is due specially to contact with the gels).

Allergic reactions: some patients react to a chemical component in the bleaching agents. Be careful with where the agent is made, as solutions that are more concentrated than usual cause burns.

Other problems: if the patient accidentally swallows the gel, for example, he or she may experience gastric irritation. In rare cases, there is a risk of nerve death if precautions are not taken with cavities or exposed roots.

Related: Teeth: more than just part of a nice smile