Dental Blancorexia: Obsession with white teeth

What is blancorexia?

It is an unquestionable reality that in recent years the general population's interest in taking care of its aesthetics has been progressively increasing, generating various and diverse psychological disorders. I am sure that you yourself, reading this, are thinking of a specific person in your environment. That person whose life revolves around taking care of their physical appearance, who has had some aesthetic retouching and can never get enough. 

In that sense, there are also, and here in the dental clinic Vélez y Lozano We are aware of the problem, those who can never get enough of the shade of their teeth. This obsessive disorder about the white shade of the teeth is called blancorexia and the patient never sees their teeth sufficiently lightened, which leads them to become frustrated at not achieving this objective and to carry out practices that are more than questionable for their dental health, such as resorting to methods of dubious reliability and without guarantees or controls that are purchased on the internet and that they themselves apply at home without the control of an expert, with the consequences that this can have on their oral health. 

Natural tooth colour

Many patients think that the natural colour of teeth is white, and therefore believe that this is the shade they will achieve with whitening. However, teeth naturally have a shade closer to ivory than the 'nuclear white' that some patients seek and intend to achieve with whitening. tooth whitening

One of the most probable causes of this problem lies between the television and celebrities in general. It is not uncommon on any set of any programme, or in any series, for the smiles of the actors to be perfect and white and to stand out from the rest of the set. However, these smiles are often tricky, as they are actually achieved by means of restorations such as porcelain veneers, zirconium crowns, resin or composite veneers...etcetera.

This is what leads many patients to believe that this shade of white can be achieved naturally and this is where their obsession or obsession begins. blancorexia

Dangers of blancorexia

As we have already mentioned, patients suffering from whitorexia are frustrated by not achieving the desired colour, so they try to demand multiple whitening treatments from their dentist and when the dentist refuses (for health reasons), they turn to miracle methods or buy substances of dubious legality on the internet. 

Carcinogen peroxide or hydrogen peroxide are substances that are used in most bleaching procedures, but their use must be supervised by a dental professional. In case they are illegally obtained through the internet and applied to themselves, the excessive use of these substances results in:

-Dental hypersensitivity

-Loss of tooth enamel

-Irreversible pulpitis or even necrosis of the tooth

-Irritation and inflammation of the gums

Recommendations against blancorexia

If you have considered whitening to improve the shade of your teeth and have ended up reading this article and you have doubts, from Vélez and Lozano we can give you some recommendations on how to do this in a coherent and realistic way:

  • Forget unrealistic expectations: As we have explained, most of the smiles you see on television have been achieved through other types of treatment. There are limits to whitening your natural teeth and excessive whitening is outside these limits. 
  • Be aware of your starting point: Whitening will improve the shade of your teeth, that's for sure, but always within the particularities of your case. You will never reach a shade that is not natural for you. 
  • Avoid factors that darken your teeth: Instead of focusing on whitening and re-staining your teeth in a pointless cycle, try to avoid things that cause your enamel to darken, such as tobacco, coffee, tea, soft drinks, certain medications...
  • Consider another treatment: If your goal is to achieve a lighter shade than can be achieved with whitening, you should consider a veneer-type cosmetic treatment. 
  • Enjoy the naturalness: If your dentist tells you that your tooth colour is already light, that it is not worth a whitening, trust him and... enjoy your colour! There is nothing more beautiful than natural.

AuthorJavier Arróniz (Dentist)