Anna Phillips is a busy young professional and wanted to put best her foot forward at her cousins wedding.
Everyone would be there and she wanted the day to be perfect.
"So after the rehearsal dinner I came home, popped my whitening strips in and fell asleep and woke up the day of the wedding with throbbing teeth and gums," Anna recalled.
Pain medication didn't dent the throbbing.
"I had done it before so I knew I should just pop some ibruprophin and tough it out,” Anna said. “It didn't make the day enjoyable at all and the ice water, I was like--ahh, this is so painful!”
Floss dentist Clark Steffens said Anna isn't alone—people falling asleep with whitening bleach in their mouth is common, bad for teeth and painful.
"People usually walk in in tears, their teeth are really, really painful and sensitive,” Dr. Steffens said. “The problem is when you've slept in them that long the bleach has been exposed the enamel way, way too long."
Dr. Steffens said that depending on the health of a person’s teeth--just one night can damage enamel.
Some people cook up their own home whitening brews--which can also damage teeth but most people either have their teeth bleached in office or use whitening strips or trays.
Then don't follow directions.
"That is the big thing, people go home and they think well, he only told me 30 minutes but if I do it for an hour it's going to be better,” Dr. Steffens said. “There is a reason he told you for 30 minutes you know."
Dr. Steffens said exposing teeth to enamel for more than an hour is not recommended--let alone the seven hours Anna exposed her teeth to bleach and she’d done that four times.
And what about those super-duper white teeth the stars have? Dr. Steffens said don't try to duplicate.
"If you look at someone and it looks unnaturally white, it's unnatural,” Dr. Steffens said. “It's done with veneers, prosthetics or something else."
As for Anna, she just wants to keep her pretty smile--just not as white as her cousins wedding gown.
"They looked white I guess,” Anna said with a smile. “But I don't know if it was worth it."